Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is betting big on startups that have the potential to expand internet access around the world. Under the Affordable Access Initiative, the tech giant plans to award grants and awards to startups with technologies that can support this course.
Harnessing Available Resources
To qualify for any funding, a startup must be able to come up with an innovative technology that can harness available resources to provide internet connections. Some of these resources include TV white spaces such as unused broadcasting frequencies.
By using already available resources, Microsoft hopes to reduce the costs of having to build infrastructure for supporting an internet connection from scratch. The company is also collaborating with local entrepreneurs for the push as most of them have a vivid idea of the needs of their communities.
Microsoft is not only providing financial support as part of the push. The tech giant is also providing technical support to help polish some of the promising technologies through peer and mentorship programs. Its research and development team is also available on call to any firm that may need some help.
So far, Microsoft has already funded 12 businesses in 11 countries as it continues to work on bringing more people online. Some of the firms that have received grants or awards include Rwanda’s Renewable Energy Distributor and Uganda’s New Sun Road.
Bringing More People Online
Half of the world’s population lacks basic internet access at a time when everything has moved online. Given the standoff, tech giants are racing against time to bring more people online as one of the ways of unlocking new opportunities for growth in untapped marketplaces.
Microsoft is not the only company looking to bring more people online. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) through its Project Loon plans to provide internet access to some of the remote places of the world with the help of balloons in the skies. Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is another tech giant with big plans of connecting people to the World Wide Web through its free basic app.
Most of these companies are struggling to grow in developed countries having already clocked saturation levels. By providing Internet access to parts of Asia and Africa, they hope to unlock new opportunities to offset weakness in other regions.