This Brightwave partnership is part of Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative (AAI) program, a partnership-based programme that invests in internet connectivity, energy access, and IoT (Internet of Things) projects in unserved and underserved communities. The AAI program seeks to support, accelerate, and scale innovative business developing technologies that enable local communities to utilise cloud-based services and business models that reduce the cost of Internet and energy access to help more people participate in the digital economy.
“Far too many South Africans lack internet connectivity along with the educational, commercial and economic benefits of cloud-based services,” says Paul Garnett, senior director in Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative team. “Through partnerships such as these, we will be able to empower entrepreneurs to provide connectivity to many more people and consequently, enable the creation of critical services for many more South Africans who need it most.”
This strategic partnership with Brightwave will enable cloud consumption and digital transformation solutions in Health, Education, Public Safety and National security. The Brightwave deployment is being co-funded by Microsoft and Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA).
The partnership also allows Brightwave to leverage the Microsoft partnership to sell Internet access, devices, as well as cloud-based services such as Office 365 to government offices, small businesses, and consumers.
“This enables Brightwave to offer an integrated services value proposition that will power e-Learning, e-Health, e-Government, and e-Commerce in rural and underserved communities in South Africa” says Charles Mwaura CEO of Brightwave.
Brightwave provides broadband Internet access in the sprawling underserved per-urban community of Soweto in South Africa. The ISP has successfully deployed and commercialised the largest Wi-Fi network in a predominantly disadvantaged community in South Africa, through offering data bundles at a tenth of market prices by leveraging an ad-driven “freemium” model. The deployment in OR Tambo district of 609 sites is part of the expanding portfolio of broadband sites being deployed in rural and underserved communities across South Africa by Brightwave.
“This initiative will provide many entrepreneurs within underserved communities and rural areas with the tools they need to create businesses, address community problems and also help close the local skills gap, by enhancing the learning experience available to schools in these areas,” says Lumko Mtimde, CEO of USAASA.