Through his , Microsoft has been working to close the digital divide over the past four years by expanding broadband access in rural areas of the United States. But reliable and accessible internet access is not always available in cities. The company is now turning its attention to urban areas and extending its Airband program to Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York City, El Paso and Memphis.
Even though broadband infrastructure exists in these cities, access is still inaccessible to many due to service and device costs. This leaves “access to the essentials of life out of the reach of millions,” as Airband general manager Vickie Robinson put it. . The issue is “particularly acute in black, African American, Latino and Hispanic communities,” Robinson wrote.
In addition to reducing the cost of broadband service, Microsoft plans to provide free or low-cost refurbished devices to help people in underserved communities in those eight cities access the Internet. It will also offer tools and resources to help people learn or improve digital skills. The company works with a variety of partners to help achieve this, including PC for People and DigitalC.
One of the measures Microsoft is taking to close the digital divide is a funding program for people with low credit scores or no credit history who are low-cost broadband customers of an ISP called Star. They could buy one Surface Go 2 and Home and Student Office for $ 22 per month. The offering is open in Los Angeles and New York, and Microsoft will take it to six other cities in the coming months.
The expansion of Airband in the city is also part of Microsoft’s Racial Equity Initiative. The company last summer with the goal of addressing racial inequity and injustice for the Black and African American community in the United States.
Meanwhile, efforts are underway at the federal and state levels for . The President of Biden includes a broadband expansion while California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s presented a $ 7 billion public broadband project.
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