Microsoft announces fund to deliver internet to world's poor

The Internet is one of the most significant inventions in all of humankind. It has enabled the world to easily communicate across borders - both literally and figuratively. More importantly, however, it allows the free movement of information and ideas. Your location shouldn't have to limit your mind.

Sadly, a lack of money can block access to the Internet for poor communities globally. There are many people on this planet that do not have access to a service that you and I probably take for granted. In other words, social inequality impacts people in technological matters. Today, Microsoft announces a new fund - as a part of its Affordable Access Initiative - in hopes to deliver affordable Internet to people in underserved locations.

"Today there are approximately 4 billion people globally without Internet access. The ability to close that gap is more achievable than ever with technology that is readily available and affordable in many parts of the world. Through this fund, we hope to kick-start the entrepreneurial process by identifying promising ideas that we can help nurture, grow and scale", says Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft.

Do you think you can leverage this fund to help? Microsoft explains, "applicants must be commercial organisations with two or more full-time employees and have a prototype of a working solution and preferably paying customers. Such products and business models might combine new cloud services and applications, low-cost forms of Internet connectivity, and new payment mechanisms designed for consumers and smaller businesses in underserved markets".

Your proposed solution must meet the following rules too.

Leverage low-cost forms of Internet connectivity Demonstrate innovative approaches to selling cloud services geared for underserved markets Integrate localised payment platforms and consumption models designed for customers in relevant markets

If your entity is chosen for the program, you can expect to receive, on average, about $75,000 from the fund. If this appealing to you, and you truly think you can make a difference, you can apply here. No need to rush, however, as you have until 15 January, 2016.

Photo source: Shutterstock/Toria