Microsoft is seeking to integrate its international Airband initiative to connect an additional 40 million people to the Internet by July 2022. The Redmond, Washington-based company launched the program in November 2017 to improve Internet access in rural areas of the United States.
The company is now focusing on Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. In the United States, Airband used unused television white space (TVWS) in the 600 MHz band to provide Internet access to 3 million Americans. However, Microsoft will have to expand beyond TVWS internationally.
In a blog post about the initiative, Microsoft says it will use other “innovative technologies” alongside TVWS to provide access to people. Microsoft aims to work with local organizations to understand the needs of a region, to partner with governments to remove regulatory barriers, and to Internet service providers to provide Internet access. On top of that, Microsoft says that international Airband projects have already had some success.
In Colombia, for example, the company has connected two schools and fire parks with TVWS. It is important to note that Microsoft is not the only major technology company to work to provide Internet access to more people. Google and Facebook have both taken initiatives to provide Internet access to more people