Microsoft announces rural broadband initiative

on Jul11

11 July 2017 | 1:49 pm

Microsoft is announcing a project to bring broadband internet access to rural parts of the United States.

Microsoft President Brad Smith says in a blog post that he plans to unveil details about the initiative at a Tuesday event in Washington, D.C.

The company, based in Redmond, Washington, is calling for a combination of private and public investments to get about 2 million rural Americans online in the next five years.

Smith says the strategy would use TV white spaces, which are unlicensed and unused airwaves. He says the powerful bandwidth will allow wireless signals to travel over hills and through buildings and trees.

The company plans to partner with telecommunications companies that serve rural counties in 12 states. It’s also asking for regulatory support from the Federal Communications Commission.

Facebook is testing another way to possibly provide worldwide internet access. A solar-powered drone backed by Facebook recently completed a test flight in Arizona after an earlier attempt ended with a crash landing.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s long-term plan for the drone, called Aquila, is to have it and others provide internet access to 4 billion people around the world who are currently in the dark.

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