Microsoft to supply web to tens of millions in Africa through satellite tv for pc

Microsoft on Wednesday introduced plans to deliver Web entry through satellite tv for pc to 10 million individuals, half of them in Africa, as a part of efforts to bridge a digital divide with the growing world.

At a summit of African leaders in Washington led by President Joe Biden, the know-how chief mentioned it could begin the satellite tv for pc mission instantly with a precedence to deliver web for the primary time to elements of Egypt, Senegal and Angola.

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Microsoft president Brad Smith mentioned the corporate has been impressed by its engineers in Nairobi and Lagos.

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In Africa, “there is no shortage of talent, but there is a huge lack of opportunity,” Smith advised AFP.

Working with satellite tv for pc supplier Viasat, Microsoft mentioned it could additionally present web in Guatemala, Mexico and extra distant elements of the USA, and likewise ramp up efforts in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Smith mentioned the most important holdup for web entry has been the shortage of electrical energy, which is unreliable for about half of Africans.

“For people who don’t go there or don’t spend time thinking about Africa, it’s hard for them to even imagine because electricity, in my view, is the greatest invention of the 19th century,” Smith mentioned.

“When you think about broadband, you can’t have access to the internet at any speed without access to electricity,” he mentioned.

Low value options

He mentioned Microsoft centered on discovering low-cost options in areas the place each the web and electrical energy are missing.

Smith mentioned he noticed broad help in Africa for bringing web entry, saying many governments have leapfrogged their Western counterparts to ease regulation as a result of the continent didn’t have the identical “extraordinary web of licensing regimes” in place from the previous.

Ministries are sometimes headed by Africans with trade expertise, “so they know how business works and they know how government works,” Smith mentioned.

“Even in countries where we might find more authoritarian challenges, I think it’s more likely that governments will want to control what’s available on the internet rather than its availability,” he mentioned.

The newest effort is a part of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, which goals to deliver web entry to 250 million individuals, 100 million of them in Africa, by the tip of 2025.

Regardless of speedy progress on the Web in developed international locations and a few main rising economies, 2.9 billion individuals, or greater than a 3rd of the world, have by no means gone on-line, in keeping with the United Nations’ Worldwide Telecommunication Union.

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