The lack of internet is a horror show nobody wants to be part of. The reality is not all are fortunate enough to have reliable – if any – broadband service, with nearly one-third of the world's population lacking internet access to education, better medical care, business opportunities and connection with family, according to the U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union.
Universal, affordable internet access is part of the U.N.’s sustainable development goals. Viasat helps achieve those goals by connecting unserved and underserved communities around the world, many for the first time, through its satellite communications technologies and services.
To further extend the reach of internet access, a partnership between Viasat and Microsoft’s Airband Initiative is expected to deliver internet access to 10 million people worldwide, including 5 million in Africa, by the end of 2025. The partnership delivers connectivity and digital literacy for better education, healthcare and economic opportunity in critical markets throughout the continent.
"Providing internet access to the world is a challenging and bold goal, and doing so in a sustainable and responsible manner will unlock enduring opportunities for those who need it most,” said Evan Dixon, president, global fixed broadband of Viasat.
Through Airband, launched in 2017, Microsoft (News - Alert) and its partners deliver high-speed internet access to more than 51 million people globally, including over 4 million in unserved U.S. rural communities and an additional 47 million in 16 unserved and underserved countries outside the U.S.
The Airband Initiative works through partnerships with local and regional internet and energy access providers, telecom equipment makers and nonprofits as well as governmental and nongovernmental organizations to advance access to affordable internet and relevant digital skills.
The partnership between Viasat and Microsoft deepens Airband's work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Guatemala, Mexico and the U.S., as well as expand the program to Egypt, Senegal and Angola to deliver internet connection.
"We believe access to the internet is a fundamental right,” said Teresa Hutson, Microsoft's vice president of technology and corporate responsibility. “Through our Airband Initiative, we will extend high-speed internet access to 100 million people on the continent of Africa and to a quarter of a billion people living in unserved and underserved areas across the world by 2025.”
The partnership builds upon the existing relationship between Viasat and Microsoft Azure Space to deliver advances in satellite connectivity and furthers Microsoft's mission to connect anyone, anywhere on the planet.
Edited by Erik Linask