Apr 04 2024

Kacific and Microsoft Partner to Reach 10 Million People in the Asia Pacific with Internet Access Initiative

Strengthening social impact in the Philippines and the Pacific Islands by connecting 750 rural schools and hospitals

Kacific Broadband Satellites Group and Microsoft are collaborating to bring high-speed satellite internet access to 750 rural educational and healthcare institutions with a geographical coverage of 10 million across the Asia Pacific over the next two years using high-powered Ka-band beams from the Kacific1 satellite.

The initiative will connect schools and healthcare centres across Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Samoa, and Timor-Leste, which will, in turn, connect the communities around them.

The project is part of Microsoft’s Airband initiative, which brings together internet and energy providers, government agencies, non-profits and the private sector to focus on closing the digital divide.

Case Study: Transformative Impact of the Partnership at Palawan Baptist Hospital

Palawan Baptist Hospital in the Philippines, which uses PhilHealth’s electronic claims system for claims management, serves as a great example of how this partnership between Kacific and Microsoft has bridged the digital divide and ultimately transformed lives. The infirmary previously used signal boosters, pocket Wi-Fi or prepaid Wi-Fi, but continued to experience unreliable and affordable connectivity. This posed a greater issue as all claims are processed online. Now, high-speed satellite internet access at the hospital has not only increased its efficiency and communication between hospitals, but also halved the costs for patients, as they no longer need to travel for hours to contact friends and family.

Better internet access and streamlined communication for hospital transfers go hand in hand,” says Darren Jay Gacot, Head of Marketing, Communications & IT at Palawan Baptist Hospital.

Learn more about Palawan Baptist Hospital Case Study here.

Kacific’s Corporate Development Director, Beatrice Mok, says, “These new sites will contribute significantly to expanding highspeed affordable internet usage in isolated communities. Kacific has the expertise and ecosystem, having installed community networks in the Pacific Islands with Guarantco, and we are confident about working with Microsoft’s Airband initiative in the countries we serve.”

Kacific’s approach to bringing high-speed accessible internet connectivity to developing countries prioritises connecting education institutions and public health facilities, aligning with their commitment to ESG goals.

“We look at the size of the community, its requirements for connectivity and what it can afford to ensure each site benefits as many people as possible in a sustainable manner,” says Beatrice. “The sites for the project have been selected to ensure minimal overlapping coverage between the Wi-Fi hotspots (across both schools and clinics) and maximum population coverage in areas where the need is identified.”

“We believe access to the internet is a fundamental right, enabling economic opportunity for people, businesses, and governments. Our new collaboration with Kacific utilises satellite technology to connect communities within the Asia Pacific region that previously had limited or no access to conventional connectivity,” said Vickie Robinson, General Manager of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative. “Strategic alliances, like with Kacific, play a pivotal role in advancing access to connectivity and digital equity, particularly in some of the world’s most critical markets.”