Microsoft wants to “bring the other half of the world online” with Affordable Access Initiative

Kit McDonald

Microsoft Innovation Centers Worldwide

Microsoft has been focusing on its global reach by prioritizing the expanse of the internet into hard to reach areas across the globe. This isn’t breaking news, but upon release of a ‘Microsoft On The Issues’ blog today, the tech giant highlighted its Affordable Access Initiative (AAI).

For a little bit of history, the United Nations turned its focus on making the internet affordable and accessible to all people by the year 2020 thanks to a new agenda. With only three years to go and over 4 billion people to serve, Microsoft has been taking the call of action to further heights.

Paul Garnett, the Director of the AII, described the goal as seeking to “support, grow, and scale innovative businesses that are developing technologies and business models that have the potential to help billions more people get online affordably.” Microsoft intends to do this through a grant fund that will attribute money into groundbreaking ISPs and businesses.

It was the second time this fund had opened up to grant applications, this time with more than double than last year. Entrepreneurs are particularly interested in becoming more involved in the AAI and bringing the internet to more people. A feat that not only would improve the economy for those productions, but deliver better information and improve health care, education, and employment on a global scale. Some of this has already been made possible through the exploration of unused TV white space internet.

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Mawingu Cyber Solar TV White Space Kenya

If the global market isn’t on your radar, Garnett threw in another interesting statistic stating that about 20 percent of U.S. households alone don’t even have high-speed broadband internet connections. Compared to the higher tech of artificial intelligence and cloud computing that Microsoft and other competitors have been pumping out, the lack of access could almost be argued as denial of a basic right.

Even though the time to apply for grant funding is closed, the post almost seems as an attempt to call for more businesses to consider the need for internet access with a larger reach and fewer costs. If you’d like to read more about the AAI or watch for funding to open again, be sure to check out the official webpage.