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Broadband News from Around the World: Microsoft for Africa & National Broadband Network in Australia




WASHINGTON, February 18, 2012 – A recent wrap-up of global broadband news included the following items:

Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative

Microsoft recently launched the Microsoft4Afrika Initiative, in a push to promote economic and broadband development in Africa. The initiative hopes to promote inexpensive smartphone usage on the African continent, and teach digital literacy to citizens. This initiative is a partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications. According to a recent article on this initiative, dubbed “Mawingu”(cloud) will “deliver low-cost, high-speed, wireless broadband and create new opportunities for commerce, education, healthcare, and delivery of government services across Kenya.” While speaking to a crowd of journalists, the general manager of Microsoft Nigeria promised “We are ever committed to building African digital divide. It is our promise. Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is a model for job creation. It is all about making Africa globally competitive. We want to create skills. We want to create innovation. We want to create access. Having smart devices in the hands of many youths in the continent is our major concern now. Young people are critical to this initiative.”

Broadband Comes to New South Wales, Australia

The city of Coffs Harbor recently celebrated becoming the first city to tap into Australia’s National Broadband Network. The capabilities of the broadband network, which will impact more than 2500 homes and businesses in Coffs Harbor,, was on full display as the network was turned on. In one of its first applications, students from a school were able to video-chat with members of the Sydney Opera House. While speaking to reporters, the Australian Minister for Broadband, Senator Stephen Conroy noted that, broadband is the future for Australia. “This will become the normal way that our kids will be educated,” Conroy said. “You don’t need to leave Coffs to get the best possible education opportunities, just like you won’t need to leave Coffs to get a decent aged care service or a decent health service into the future.

European Union Far Behind United States in Broadband Adoption, Says Broadband Gadfly

Scott Cleland of the Daily Caller recently wrote on “Why Europe is falling behind America on broadband.” According to Cleland, the European Union is falling behind America’s recent broadband progress due to the EU’s limitations on allowing private investment in technology, in contrast to the United States’ encouragement of what he calls “competition policy.” These limits on EU broadband infrastructure development are not scheduled to change anytime soon. According to Cleland, the EU recently cut their public infrastructure investments by 88 percent until 2020. Cleland sites an NTIA report that states that less than half of European households have broadband service, in comparison to nearly 70 percent in the United States.


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