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How Microsoft is helping connect rural India to the internet

Microsoft Logo at Ignite
Microsoft Logo at Ignite (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is helping connect rural India to the internet with its Airband Initiative.
  • AirJaldi worked with Microsoft to extend internet access to hundreds of thousands of people.
  • AirJaldi is the first internet service provider to run entirely on the cloud with Microsoft's Azure.

Microsoft continues its efforts to bring internet connectivity to unserved or underserved people around the world. Microsoft worked with AirJaldi to bring internet connectivity to rural India and highlights its efforts in a recent news post (opens in new tab). AirJaldi now offers connectivity to more than 1,500 villages and 240,00 registered users from eight states across India. AirJaldi is also the first internet service provider (ISP) to run entirely on the cloud with Microsoft's Azure.

Co-founder of AirJaldi, Michael Ginguld emphasizes the importance of connectivity in the modern day:

Without connectivity, you cannot talk about improving people's livelihoods, well-being, or voice. Our approach really was to build networks in areas that are not necessarily reached by others.

Microsoft launched its Airband Initiative in 2017. It utilizes airwaves to provide internet access to areas with no connection or poor connection to the internet. Microsoft's goal is to extend internet access to 40 million people around the world, including Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the United States, by July 2022.

Kevin Connolly, director, Airband International, Microsoft, says:

Rural communities around the world lacking broadband access miss out on opportunities for digital transformation, including the ability to participate in the digital economy. We started the Airband Initiative to foster local partnerships with public and private sector organizations focused on bringing the internet to rural areas and building solutions and services that empower community members to achieve more.

Microsoft also highlights how a common services center helps people use important government e-services. "Connectivity has not just improved, it is speedier than in some big cities now," says Aakash Alokar, the owner of a common services center in Churni.

Microsoft also has two videos highlighting the effects of improved connectivity within India. The first video goes over the Microsoft Airband and AirJaldi partnership in general. The second highlights the story of Asha Kumari and how internet connectivity has helped close India's gender gap.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at

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