Paul Garnett is the Director of Affordable Access Initiatives at Microsoft, where he focuses on new technologies and business models that will enable billions more people to affordably get online. Paul and his team work with Internet access providers and other partners to deploy new last-mile access technologies, cloud-based services and applications, and business models that reduce the cost and improve the quality of Internet access.
Over the last few years, Microsoft and its partners have established wireless broadband projects in places as varied as the rural heart of Kenya and the urban complexity of Singapore. Partnering with the Kenyan Ministry of Information & Communications and local ISP, Mawingu Networks, Microsoft has helped deliver the Mawingu project, using solar-powered based stations and TV white spaces technology to deliver high-speed wireless Internet access to rural areas currently lacking even basic electricity. In contrast, Microsoft’s work with the Singapore White Spaces Pilot Group (SWSPG) has shown the practical benefits of white spaces technology in an urban environment, from providing scope for ever increasing machine-to-machine communication through to simply being better at penetrating walls and other obstacles. Paul’s team has also launched projects in countries as varied as Bhutan, Botswana, Jamaica, Namibia, the Philippines, South Africa, and Tanzania.
Throughout his career, Paul has consistently been drawn to the challenge of universal access. Prior to joining Microsoft, Paul spent 17 years in Washington, DC, where he focused on telecommunications law and policy. As Assistant Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, at CTIA-The Wireless Association®, he represented the U.S. wireless industry before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Congress. Paul also worked at the FCC in its Wireline Competition Bureau leading complex rulemakings on universal service and intercarrier compensation regulations. Paul was an Associate in Swidler Berlin’s telecommunications practice representing telecommunications and broadband start-ups. In addition, Paul was a Consultant at Price Waterhouse advising on the privatization of state-owned telecommunications and utility monopolies.
Paul earned his bachelor’s degree in political science at Union College and his law degree at the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.