Microsoft's new plan to bring broadband to everyone in the US

Microsoft's new plan to bring broadband to everyone in the US

Microsoft is announcing plans today to expand broadband Internet services across rural areas of the USA through use of unused wireless spectrum known as "white space". We believe the nation can bring broadband coverage to rural America in this timeframe, based on a new strategic approach that combines private sector capital investments focused on expanding broadband coverage through new technologies, coupled with targeted and affordable public-sector support. Instead, the company wants to use white spaces, or those TV channels that aren't used for TV broadcasting, to bring broadband access to more than 2 million people in the US. He says the powerful bandwidth will allow wireless signals to travel over hills and through buildings and trees. Microsoft is creating a Rural Airband Initiative that will invest in partnerships with telecommunications companies to create 12 projects in 12 states over the next 12 months. But broadcasters are not wild about the idea of ceding this spectrum, and the Federal Communications Commission would have to free up the channels.

"Our goal is not to enter the telecommunications business ourselves or even to profit directly from these projects", he wrote.

Although the buffer zones, known as white spaces, are now unused, Wharton said they are important for preventing adjacent channels from interfering with each other. It will use the proceeds to invest in additional projects.

Microsoft will also work to provide training to residents in those areas to help people develop the skills they need to "improve education, health care..."

More news: Microsoft confirms job cuts, but only in sales

Microsoft's initiative, unveiled Tuesday, comes as policy makers struggle to extend high-speed internet services to rural areas, which cable and phone companies have often shunned as cost prohibitive. But the company did not say how much the Rural Airband Initiative would cost or how much upfront money it would be contributing.

Microsoft estimates that 5 million households with school-age children don't have access to the Internet in rural America. There, the tech company partnered with Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

"One thing we've concluded is just how important broadband is for all kinds of things", Microsoft President Brad Smith told the Seattle Times before the speech.

The initial target states are: Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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