Ibadan, 30 December 2022. – Microsoft Corp. and Viasat have signed a new partnership to help deliver internet access to 10 million people globally, including 5 million across Africa. As a result, they will deepen Airband’s work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States, and prioritize expanding the program to Egypt, Senegal, and Angola to deliver much-needed internet connection, often for the first time.
Commenting on the deal, Teresa Hutson, Microsoft’s vice president of Technology and Corporate Responsibility, said: “Through our Airband Initiative, we will extend high-speed internet access to 100 million people on the continent of Africa and a quarter of a billion people living in unserved and underserved areas across the world by 2025. Working with Viasat, we will use satellites to reach remote areas that previously have had few, if any, options for conventional connectivity. Together, we will be able to rapidly scale and expand Airband’s reach, exploring a wider pipeline of projects and new countries where we haven’t yet worked.”
According to the release, nearly one-third of the world’s population lacks online access to education, better medical care, business opportunities, connection with family, and more. Furthermore, most of this population lives in just 20 countries across Africa and the Global South. Universal, affordable internet access is part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and by focusing a large portion of this new partnership on Africa, Microsoft and Viasat are working to deliver connectivity and digital literacy for better education, healthcare, and economic opportunity in critical markets.
Microsoft and its partners have delivered high-speed internet access to more than 51 million people through Airband. This includes over 4 million in unserved US rural communities and 47 million in 16 unserved and underserved countries outside the US. In addition, the partnership builds upon the existing relationship between Viasat and Microsoft Azure Space to deliver advances in satellite connectivity and furthers Microsoft’s mission to connect anyone, anywhere on the planet.