Microsoft in Rural-India Broadband Push

It teams up with Hughes.
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Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report and Hughes (HUGH) plan to roll out 5,000 broadband-enabled information and communications technology kiosks across rural India.

The companies said their plan will "create a self-sustaining and robust IT infrastructure to empower the rural masses."

The kiosks will be deployed across 200 small towns and rural regions and will be operated on a franchisee-based model, the companies said.

"The ICT kiosks will not only provide a platform for exchange of information and knowledge, but also serve as a platform to create over 15,000 jobs and self-employment opportunities," said Pranav Roach, president and CEO, Hughes Network Systems India.

"Connectivity is a key challenge in creating a digitally inclusive society, and this partnership is a step toward our aim of providing a holistic ecosystem under 'Project Saksham' at the ground level and enable the rural ecosystem," said Rohit Kumar, country head, public sector, Microsoft India.