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Microsoft will offer funding to companies delivering low-cost internet in underserved markets

Microsoft has launched a new fund as part of its Affordable Access Initiative, a program through which the Redmond giant delivers cloud-based services and affordable internet solutions to underserved markets around the globe. The fund will provide resources to companies developing innovative solutions to get more people connected in these markets.

According to Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft:

Today there are approximately 4 billion people globally without Internet access. The ability to close that gap is more achievable than ever with technology that is readily available and affordable in many parts of the world. Through this fund, we hope to kick-start the entrepreneurial process by identifying promising ideas that we can help nurture, grow and scale.

Microsoft has already announced that it will bring affordable broadband internet access to 500,000 Indian villages, leveraging unused TV "white space" spectrum. The Redmond giant is now using the same medium to roll out internet across 17 countries.

Under the Affordable Access Initiative, Microsoft will collaborate with internet service providers as well as public and private companies to deliver new forms of cloud-based services, low-cost internet access, and new payment mechanisms. Participating companies will receive up to $75,000 in funding, software and services, as well as the opportunity to connect with potential founders. Microsoft will be taking applications until 15 January, 2016. Interested companies can find all the relevant details from the Affordable Access Initiative website (opens in new tab).

Two projects that are already underway have been highlighted:

  • Microsoft's deployment of TV white spaces technology (opens in new tab), which repurposes TV frequencies not being used locally to provide affordable, robust Internet access to entire communities. With its partners, Microsoft is currently deploying the technology in 17 countries and five continents.
  • Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative (opens in new tab), a multiyear initiative through which Microsoft is actively engaging in Africa's economic development to improve its global competitiveness through locally relevant innovation, affordable access and skills development.

Microsoft Affordable Access Initiative (opens in new tab)

26 Comments
  • Very good microsoft Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • At least one good thing
  • Was watching Australia vs New Zealand Test series and was glad to see Microsoft Surface being one of the sponsers of the tournament.
  • & Dr Sheldon Cooper and the INTEL processors.
  • So sweet
  • I read that as undeserved :¬)
  • I read undeserving
  • Same here mate. Was actually wondering why would there be undeserved countries..lol
  • I am impressed. Good work Microsoft.
  • Maybe they can deploy some internet services in Remote Pakistani villages. They can benefit by learning new farming techniques etc over the internet.
  • Great work, very encouraging
  • Will take this away SOON!
  • You can't
  • @Nokia5110 Wicked
  • Nice. Hope they ll offer funds to companies delivering WP apps too :)
  • Great move Microsoft...Ghana and the rest of Africa needs this initiative...expensive internet services here
  • My eyes played a trick on me and I read "underserved" as "undeserved". I was thinking "well that's a little douche-bagish....and what the hell do you have to do to not deserve internet?"
  • I am a undeserving market that needs low cost Internet, or something along this lines. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Mr. Satya Corleone will make them an offer that they can't resist..
  • LOL
  • Hmm... What about low income families in highly overpriced markets?
  • I'm guessing that is hard to find out, and that might be more of a local corporation/community thing.
  • Now income families in highly overpriced markets means Zimbabwe?
  • I almost want to be a comedian and say add Canada to that list. Wind Mobile, for example, could really use the funding in order to help them offer more affordable Mobile data and voice services to Canadians.
  • while most of the indian villages lack basic facilities like electricity, sanitation...i wonder how broadband is going to aid in development?
  •   While this is all wonderful news, when is this technology going to be deployed in the under-served areas here in America?