Rural broadband player AirJaldi and education startup Zaya Learning Labs are recipients of Microsoft's Affordable Access Initiative grants from India, the company announced on its blog. Microsoft started the Affordable Access Initiative last November bring affordable Internet access to underserved markets around the world. Microsoft added that it is taking learnings from their TV White Spaces work and building local solutions for last mile delivery of Internet. AirJaldi AirJaldi was started in 2009 in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. As indicated by this story in NextBigWhat, AriJaldi purchases bandwidth from telecom players like Airtel and distributes it to its clients via the delicensed spectrum in the 2.4 GHz/ 58 GHz range, also known as the WiFi range. The company sets up relays in rural areas which can then connect to a WiFi network over distances. Clients connect to relays through Customer Premise Equipment (CPEs), which are made of small and powerful routers. AirJaldi owns and runs nine networks in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It says that it has more than 100,000 users and 60,000 accounts on their networks. Zaya Learning Labs Zaya is an education tech startup and its product Class Cloud is a portable, wireless device which can store, access, and deploy curriculum and content in classrooms with intermittent connectivity or no connectivity. Class Cloud also analyzes content’s usage so that teachers can ensure content meets the educational needs of individual learners. Zaya is backed by the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund, an investment fund within Pearson that invests in education startups across emerging markets. The company currently…
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