Tech giant releases funds to provide affordable internet

The innovative and practical connectivity and services solutions are designed to deliver the greatest socio-economic impact to the greatest number of people.

Microsoft

Microsoft Corporation, says it has inaugurated a new fund to cultivate companies with solutions that bring affordable internet access to underserved markets.

Mr Peggy Johnson, the Executive Vice President, Business Development, Microsoft made this known in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday.

Johnson said that the fund was part of Microsoft’s ``Affordable Access Initiative’’, which invested in new last-mile access technologies, cloud-based services and applications.

He said it was an initiative which invested on business models that could reduce the cost of internet access and help more people get online at an affordable cost.

"Today, there are approximately four 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,'' Johnson said.

He said that under its Affordable Access Initiative, Microsoft would go into partnership with internet access providers and other public and private sector entities on innovative and practical connectivity and services solutions.

According to him, the innovative and practical connectivity and services solutions are designed to deliver the greatest socio-economic impact to the greatest number of people.

He said that eligible companies could submit their application online at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/affordable-access-initiative/home, on or before January 15, 2016.

"Applicants must be commercial organisations with two or more full-time employees and have a prototype of a working solution and preferably paying customers.

"Such products and business models might combine new cloud services and applications, low-cost forms of internet connectivity, and new payment mechanisms designed for consumers and smaller businesses in underserved markets.

"In addition to receiving on average approximately 75,000 dollars in funding and free software and services, recipients will also have the opportunity to participate in a programme offered by Microsoft.

"This is to connect them with other grant recipients and potential funders,'' Johnson said.

According to him, other efforts underway include; Microsoft’s deployment of TV white spaces technology, which repurposes TV frequencies not being used locally to provide affordable and robust internet access to entire communities.

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