Getting more people online
Nearly 50 percent of the global population is not online. The Microsoft Airband Initiative partners with organizations to utilize TV Whites Space (TVWS) devices and other low-cost wireless technologies to make it easier and more affordable for people to get online and participate in today’s economy.
Facilitating access to connectivity
Fourteen percent of the global population lack access to electricity, which inhibits their ability to access the internet. To facilitate connectivity and increase access, the Microsoft Airband Initiative invests in affordable, off-grid energy providers around the world.
Microsoft will continue to invest in partnerships with companies with the goal of bringing broadband connectivity to millions of people in the US and around the world.
As communities get connected, Microsoft will partner with national and local organizations to provide digital skills training for people of all ages to ensure they have the confidence to navigate the internet—improving education, health care, agriculture, and small business outcomes in these communities.Learn more about digital skills
To serve as a catalyst for market investments by others, and to reach additional rural communities, we provide royalty-free access to dozens of patents and sample source code related to broadband technology.Learn more about our technology
The Microsoft Airband initiative partners with local organizations to develop cost-effective solutions to the unique needs of their communities.
With a mix of technologies, AirJaldi has created a series of hybrid networks to provide affordable and reliable internet to some of India’s most underserved regions.
Italian coffee company Lavazza, energy and agricultural innovator ALO&Partners, and the Colombian nonprofit MAKAIA teamed up to connect rural, coffee-growing areas of Colombia. Internet access was delivered via TV White Space technology and has already connected two schools and five farms.
Astrea, formerly Packerland, uses a mix of fiber and fixed wireless technologies, including TV White Spaces, to serve its rural customers in Wisconsin and Michigan. Non-line-of-sight technologies are critical in this region due to low population density and challenging terrain and foliage.
600 million Africans lack access to either electricity or internet. M-KOPA, a Kenyan-based company, uses a cloud-connected IoT device to deliver affordable clean energy to 3 million people and 600,000 off-grid residences.
Using a hybrid network deployment, Brightwave connects over 600 South African schools and healthcare clinics to affordable internet. The combination of fiber, microwave, and fixed wireless technology extends broadband capacity and offers an integrated service to underserved rural communities.
Using a fixed wireless network leveraging 5Ghz and TV White Space, Declaration Networks provides broadband connectivity to rural communities along the Eastern Shore of Virginia and in Garrett County, Maryland.
Allband and Merit Network
Allband Communications and Merit Network have partnered to deliver broadband internet access to residential customers and businesses. This enables school bus connectivity and animal tracking on private reserves and state parks in rural Michigan.
New Sun Road
New Sun Road provides electricity, internet access, and education in remote environments to help alleviate the effects of climate change and global energy poverty.
SunCulture aims to help farmers improve their crop yields through solar-powered irrigation systems. In addition, current systems are being expanded to include sensors, camera technology, and drone image capturing which enables improved soil monitoring, data collection and crop quality.
The role of government
The government has a vital role to play in closing the rural broadband gap in the United States. Regulations governing access to spectrum, infrastructure investments, and data collection require attention to eliminate the US rural broadband gap by 2022.
A comprehensive strategy
Microsoft outlined a comprehensive US rural broadband strategy to help connect at least 25 million Americans without access to broadband, of which over 19 million live in rural communities. We also have committed to directly connect 3 million of these people through partnerships, play our part in catalyzing the broader tech ecosystem through royalty free access to patents, and a commitment to digital skills training for the communities we reach.