Microsoft and Viasat have jointly announced a partnership to deliver top-notch internet access to 10 million people around the world, including 5 million people in Africa. The partnership between Microsoft, tech company, and Viasat, a telecommunications company, is a significant step in achieving the former’s “Airband Initiative expanded goal” of delivering internet access to 250 million people across the globe, including 100 million people in Africa, by the end of 2025.
The new Microsoft-Viasat partnership would embody 5 million people in Egypt, Senegal, Angola, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, aside from the 5 million people in the Americas, including Guatemala, Mexico, and the US.
Why it matters
2.7 billion people or one-third of the world’s eight billion people have never used the internet, satellite and/or fixed wireless technology. The new Microsoft-Viasat partnership hopes to provide internet connectivity for remote areas that have few or no technological options.
The big picture
Internet penetration rate in Africa is limited by a distance rate when compared to the rest of the world. The countries on the continent with the most internet activity include South Africa, Morocco and Egypt as well as smaller economies such as Mauritius and Seychelles. However, as of 2018, only 24.4 percent of the African population had access to the Internet.
- Regardless of the fact that 44 countries out of 54 have achieved full Internet public access in at least its major cities, the scope of coverage is still limited on the continent.
- In 2020, 19% of people living in Sub-Saharan African countries had no mobile network coverage.