Microsoft has expanded its Airband partnerships set to provide high-speed internet access to nearly 40 million people across Latin America and Africa.
These partnerships in Brazil, Chile, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Cote dÍvoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda mark significant progress in its commitment to extend high-speed internet access to 250 million people living in unserved and undeserved areas around the world, including 100 million Africans.
Across both Latin America and Africa, limited access to broadband can mean that people have fewer opportunities to develop the digital fluency and skills needed to participate in the digital economy.
Microsoft believes that internet access and meaningful connectivity is a fundamental right. The Microsoft Airband initiative was launched to bring transformative connectivity to unserved and undeserved communities around the world. Through the Airband initiative and its partners, focusing on regions with lower digital connectivity rates.
Connecting communities across Latin America
In recent years, about 37 percent of Latin Americans in rural areas have connectivity options, compared with 71 percent of the urban population. Airband together with Wayfree in Guatemala, Fundacion Pais Digital in Chile, Brisanet in Brazil, and Anditel in Colombia will deliver 18 million people with access to high-speed internet.
Latin America combines thriving urban cities and rural areas with vast cultural heritage sites, however, like most places, there are unique challenges in advancing connectivity in certain regions. With greater access to the internet, Airband through its partners, hope to address societal issues, such as employment and education that can be strengthened through greater connectivity.
Crossing the continent of Africa
Microsoft’s efforts on the African continent are some of its most longstanding and farthest reaching. Today many African nations are rising economic powers, but on a continent with so many vast rural areas, delivering connectivity can be a challenge. On average Africa has a 40 percent internet usage rate. Partnerships are key to the success of the Airband model, and we are building upon our existing partnerships in Africa, including with Mawingu and Tizeti.
- Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda: Microsoft Airband’s relationship with Kenyan service provider Mawingu began in 2014 with a pilot in Nanyuki, and has since expanded to deliver high-speed internet access to four million Kenyans living in rural areas. Mawingu was Airband’s first partner, and thanks to the public-partnership model, the company is now Kenya’s leading internet service provider dedicated to rural and per—urban markets. This latest expansion of Microsoft’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.
- Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire: Airband partner Tizeti has brought coverage to more than 900,000 people in Nigeria, expanding from Lagos to focus on underserved states across the country. Microsoft and Tizeti are expanding this partnership to Cote d’Ivoire, a cultural crossroads of West Africa, to bring internet access to almost 5 million people. Given that electricity is frequently unavailable, insufficient or unreliable in many parts of Africa, this expansion of the partnership includes infrastructure support and deployment of eight solar powered towers to help provide connectivity to households, small businesses and hotspots. This access will empower greater access to education, healthcare, and employment.
Bringing more digital opportunities to more people
Through partnering with Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, organizations have additional support to create the infrastructure needed to provide connectivity support in many different ecosystems that ultimately drives self-empowerment and sustainable development and growth. These partnerships are essential in providing local expertise and experience to help achieve a greater goal tied to what can be harnessed with the support of connectivity.
As technology, like AI, advances, being connected provides a path forward to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.