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Today Microsoft is announcing a public-private collaboration that will deliver low-cost, off-the-grid wireless broadband access to previously unserved locations in rural Kenya—and will do it with the help of solar power.
To deliver broadband to rural locations, the project taps into unused portions of wireless spectrum in the television frequency band—it turns out these so-called “white spaces” are a perfect fit for broadband. Microsoft is delivering broadband access—which will serve a healthcare clinic, schools, a library, and government offices—in collaboration with the Kenyan Ministry of Information and Communications, Kenyan internet service provider Indigo and U.S.-based wireless startup Adaptrum. The project will provide wireless broadband to more than 6,000 people who currently don’t have online access. It’s all part of a broad effort called the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative unveiled today, which you can read more about here.
This week, Seattle’s new Bullitt Center received prominent coverage as the ultra-energy efficient building moves closer to its official opening. The Center will feature a large roof covered in solar panels and a 50,000-gallon underground cistern, making it one of the greenest buildings constructed to date. Also, as Super Bowl Sunday is nearly upon us, The New York Times featured an article on its Green blog explaining how the big game affects energy use across the nation.
Each quarter, the company gives out an Environmental Sustainability Action Award, along with a donation to an environmental charity of the winner’s choice, in recognition of an employee or team who has shown leadership, exemplifying how Microsoft and its employees can have a positive impact on the environment. These leaders help us improve not only the way we run our business, but also the ways our products and services can make a difference for our customers, partners and society.
The award for Microsoft’s second quarter (which runs from October to December) has been given to Ludgero Gameiro, a Technical Account Manager in Portugal. Ludgero created a new offering to help customers define power management policies using System Center Configuration Manager—a great example of how technology can increase energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and decrease costs.
Last week Microsoft Research’s Drew Purves published an article in Nature (paid access) about how computer modeling can help map the planet’s ecosystems and better understand threats to biodiversity; we blogged about the article in this post. Today our friends over at ClimateDesk published a video interview with Drew that explains in 90 seconds how computer models can predict the impact of climate change. Check it out!
In his second inaugural address, President Obama gave prominent attention to the threat of climate change. Washington Post’s Wonkblog offered a detailed look on how climate factored in the President’s speech, which explains how the nation should confront global warming. Despite promising rhetoric following his first inauguration in 2009, many climate advocates were underwhelmed by climate policy during the past four years. That’s one reason why GreenBiz called out the need for leadership from the executive branch on climate policy in its analysis of the inaugural speech. In his analysis, author David Bartlett explains that while the challenge of limiting climate change is clear, IT and communication technology can have very impressive results on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.