Microsoft, AirJaldi collaborate to enhance connectivity in underserved Indian communities
India-based service provider AirJaldi has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) called ‘Contentful Connectivity’ with Microsoft.
The programme is designed to advance access to high-speed internet as a fundamental right in collaboration with private, public, non-profit sectors to benefit underserved communities in rural regions of India.
Over the next three years, the programme will expand AirJaldi Networks into three new states, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha. It will increase the number of network locations from 40 to 62 in 12 states. An additional 1,500km fibre network will help reach 20,000km2 and provide internet access to nearly 500,000 underserved beneficiaries.
The move will also help to strengthen AirJaldi’s networks in nine states by extending the wireless and wired infrastructure and supporting extension of reach and connectivity provision for underserved users. AirJaldi will deploy, implement, and test new connectivity technologies, approaches, and connectivity-related solutions to improve the quality of services and network sustainability.
Another advantage is that there will be additional skilling, education and entrepreneurship training programmes, strengthening courses for women entrepreneurship and rural connectivity and integrating Microsoft modules on digital productivity, employability skills, and AI fluency skills for 15,000 underserved community members, in particular women, youth and high school children in 12 states. These network-led training programmes would be based on a multi-faceted training approach combining face-to-face training, online sessions and online learning management system (LMS) courses delivered through Microsoft Community Training platform.
Microsoft launched its Airband initiative to bring transformative connectivity to underserved communities around the world. Partnerships can benefit organisations such as AirJaldi with support to create the infrastructure needed to provide connectivity support in different ecosystems.
Antony Cook, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Microsoft says: “We believe access to the internet should be available to everyone and that digital skills create and enable economic prosperity for people, businesses and governments. Partnerships are foundational to the success of Airband and, by working with AirJaldi Networks, we will extend internet access to 500,000 beneficiaries in underserved communities in rural India. Beyond solving for internet access to help the country’s digital capabilities continue to grow, Microsoft expects that this expanded access to the internet will also help these beneficiaries to enhance their digital productivity, AI and employability skills.”
Michael Ginguld, Director Strategy and Operations, AirJaldi Networks adds: “I am delighted and excited to sign this MoU with Microsoft India. This partnership, which is a continuation of our fruitful work with Microsoft since 2016, is a significant step forward in achieving our joint goals of providing wide-ranging, meaningful and impactful connectivity across India. I believe that the combination of connectivity, digital tools and digital skills are essential building-blocks in ensuring the central role of internet connectivity in improving people’s lives. We at AirJaldi are thankful for being able to be part of this process.”