Microsoft has launched a new fund to help companies bring affordable internet access to underserved markets around the world. As part of the company's Affordable Access Initiative, Microsoft is taking applications from third party companies to help them bring down the costs of providing internet access to new markets. Funding averages approximately $75,000 in funding and free software and services, and Microsoft helps to connect potential funders together through a program set up by the company.
Microsoft's EVP of business development Peggy Johnson explains:
“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 been pushing affordable access through its own initiatives and in partnership with other companies, including using white space technologies to bring internet access to 17 countries on 5 continents, and through its Microsoft 4Afrika initiative, where Microsoft is actively engaging in economic development by encouraging local innovation, affordable access, and skills development.
Interested companies can check out more and submit their applications online through the Affordable Access Initiative website.