Microsoft: The Rural Broadband Divide: An Urgent National Problem That We Can Solve

In a blog post, Brad Smith gives an early introduction to his presentation at 9:30 PST today at a luncheon in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Every day the world is becoming more digital. Cloud computing combined with new productivity, communication and intelligent tools and services enable us to do more, do it more quickly and in ways that were simply unimaginable a generation ago. But participating in this new era requires a high-speed broadband connection to the internet. While it’s a service that is as critical as a phone or electricity, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband is unavailable to roughly 25 million Americans, more than 19 million of which live in rural communities. That’s roughly the population of New York state.

Over the past five years, the FCC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided more than $22 billion in subsidies and grants to telecommunications carriers to sustain, extend and improve broadband in rural America. Despite these efforts, the country’s adoption of broadband hasn’t budged much since 2013. This inability to build out the last mile of the 21st century’s digital infrastructure has exacerbated the country’s growing prosperity and opportunity divides — divisions that often fall along urban and rural lines.

The full presentation is HERE.

Airband is a more rural-friendly technology than 5G, rural communities need to embrace this interim technology until they can afford fiber to the home or office.

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Microsoft Airband Update on 4 Dec @ 9:30 AM

A message from Microsoft: Broadband is essential to the way we work, live, learn, and play today. More than 19 million people in the rural U.S. don’t have a broadband connection. Lack of broadband prevents students from completing homework and research, limits agriculture and small-business opportunities, and results in less access to healthcare.

Technology offers an affordable solution. Microsoft has been working to close the broadband gap. Join Microsoft President Brad Smith, Packerland Broadband, Declaration Networks and nonprofit partners for an update on the Microsoft Airband Initiative Tuesday, Dec. 4, at noon EST/9:30 a.m. PST. Learn more here.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

 

Microsoft Airband Partner Added in Northwest, Aims to Reach 73K with Fixed Wireless

[…]

Microsoft Airband Partner

Through the partnership, Native Network will provide affordable, hybrid, fixed-wireless broadband internet access, including TV White Spaces, to tribes within Flathead Reservation in Montana as well as Lummi Nation and Swinomish Tribe in Washington.

The announcement is one of several Microsoft has announced recently to expand broadband in rural areas:

Microsoft plans to bring services to about 126,700 previously unserved people in rural communities in Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota, through a partnership with Network Business Systems.

The company partnered with Agile Networks and Airband to offer high-speed broadband to 110,000 people in rural Ohio.

Microsoft provided start-up funding to U.S. companies Numbers4Health; Skylark Wireless; Cy Wireless and Tribal Digital Village and four other companies.

“Broadband is the electricity of the 21st century and is critical for farmers, small-business owners, health-care practitioners, educators and students to thrive in today’s digital economy,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith, in a prepared statement.“The partnership with Native Network will help close the digital divide in rural Montana and Washington, bringing access to approximately 73,500 people within and around the tribal communities.”

Read more HERE.

Microsoft Partners With Redline to Lower the Cost of TV White Space-Based Broadband Solutions

Microsoft today announced partnership with Redline Communications to make TV White Space-based broadband internet solution more affordable and accessible in rural areas in the United States and globally. As part of this partnership, Redline will offer its Virtual Fiber radio technology in the TV White Space band to Microsoft Airband Initiative partners.

“Our work with Redline will increase the availability of competitively priced TV White Space technology, enabling internet service providers (ISPs) to provide access to customers at an affordable price point,” said Paul Garnett, senior director of the Microsoft Airband Initiative. “This availability and utilization of TV White Space is absolutely critical to closing the broadband gap. This partnership will bring rapid evolution to the technology, making a real impact on real lives.”

“With its Virtual Fiber™ technology, Redline has been leading the TV White Space market and has been active in digital divide projects for almost a decade,” said Rob Williams, CEO at Redline. “In discussions with Microsoft, we realized that we shared the same vision for approaching the rural broadband gap, and we each possessed critical components to the solution. This partnership with Microsoft will help us address the digital divide more effectively in the U.S. and around the world.”

This partnership is part of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative which aims to enable broadband access to 2 million unserved people in rural America by 2022.

Source: Microsoft