Microsoft taps startups to boost Internet access worldwide

Microsoft has awarded grants to entrepreneurs seeking to expand Internet access across the world using new access technologies.

The Affordable Access Initiative issues grants and awards to startups which are focusing on technology which can be harnessed to improve Internet access to communities.

In this round of funding, 12 businesses in 11 countries have been successful, Microsoftannounced on Tuesday.

The initiative aims to “democratize access to the Internet through grants, commercial partnerships, connecting new leaders and community engagement,” according to the firm.

In order to qualify for a grant, Microsoft wants to see new, innovative technology which harnesses resources including TV white spaces — unused broadcasting frequencies — to expand Internet connectivity, as well as scalable business models and sustainable solutions.

The companies which have snagged a grant come from a range of countries across the world.

In addition to financial support, Microsoft has promised peer and mentor programs, the firm’s own research & development team available on call, and virtual conferences annually.

“To further empower people and organization in communities benefitting from the Affordable Access Initiative. Microsoft Philanthropies will make digital literacy, online safety and computer science education programs available through its global YouthSpark initiative, as well as cloud product donations and training for nonprofits,” the tech giant says.

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