New and expanded Microsoft Airband partnerships are set to provide high-speed internet access to nearly 40 million people across Latin America and Africa, the company says.
Microsoft’s Airband initiative aims to close the digital divide and bring high-speed internet connectivity to unconnected communities around the world.
For example, in Brazil, Airband is expanding its footprint as part of its new partnership with ISP Brisanet. Working with Microsoft and NGOs like Amigos do Bem and Mais Unidos, Brisanet will extend high-speed internet access to more than 11 million people and support social and economic development in low-income regions of the country.
In Chile, Fundación País Digital, a non-profit organization working to develop Chile’s digital economy, expand connectivity, and improve digital literacy throughout the country, will expand connectivity to rural and underserved areas in two regions. With Airband support the programme will, in addition to connectivity, target economic opportunities through training and employing local community members to maintain the new networks. It also aims to bring internet access to an additional one million people by the end of 2025.
In Colombia, an Airband commitment with long-time partner Anditel to provide coverage for more than 600,000 people in five years is ahead of plan. To date, the partners have nearly doubled that target and now aim to cover an additional three million people by the end of 2025. Partnering with the Colombian government on ICT 360, the national connectivity programme, Anditel aims to cover 85% of Colombians by 2026.
In Guatemala, Wayfree, a provider of internet connectivity, is deploying wireless access zones in towns and villages, and is already covering over 40% of the 340 Guatemalan municipalities. Airband says its support will catalyze deployments in the remaining municipalities in Guatemala and ultimately provide three million people with access to high-speed internet coverage by the end of 2025.
In Africa, we reported recently on the Tizeti-Airband partnership in Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. Meanwhile, the latest expansion of Microsoft Airband’s partnership with Mawingu will bring coverage to an incremental 16 million people across Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda by the end of 2025, ultimately covering a total of 20 million people.
Mawingu provides meaningful internet access to locations throughout Kenya, such as hotspots, vocational schools and businesses.