Microsoft Airband InitiativeSource: Microsoft

What you need to know

  • Microsoft launched its Airband Initiative in 2017.
  • The initiative's goal was to help rural communities have affordable broadband.
  • The initiative is now expanding to eight major cities.

Microsoft's Airband Initiative is getting an expansion. Initially designed to help rural communities have steady, affordable internet access, the initiative is expanding to eight major cities.

Microsoft credits this need for expansion to the remote transformation the world's undergone due to the pandemic. Now more than ever, the internet has become central to people's lives. Many communities didn't have to rely on steady internet connections before 2020. But since everything from schooling to work has gone online, those without affordable, reliable broadband access have faced substantial challenges in carrying out daily life.

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Here's what Microsoft had to say about its update to its Airband Initiative.

In 2017, we launched the Microsoft Airband Initiative to expand broadband access in rural America. Today, we are expanding Airband to U.S. cities that face some of the largest broadband gaps among racial and ethnic minorities, specifically Black and African American communities. Our approach focuses on providing access to affordable broadband, devices and digital skilling tools and resources in eight cities, including aiding in the digital transformation of the institutions that support these communities. Our initial work will extend access to communities in Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Memphis, Milwaukee and New York City.

The Airband Initiative extends well beyond the U.S., though. Microsoft has also brought it to India, where it partnered with Indian ISP AirJaldi to help provide internet access to rural communities. As the years go on, one can likely expect to see the Airband Initiative's reach grow more and more.

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