Microsoft brings internet to rural areas in the US

Technology > IT

Microsoft aims to bring broadband internet to rural areas in the US within five years' time through the unused TV spectrum.

Microsoft’s ambitious plan, tagged as the Rural Airband Initiative, will start in 12 states,where they are planning on investing in local telecom services. According to them, their enty into the telecom business is not much for direct profit but for supplying the upfront capital required to expand broadband coverage. 

“The key now is to stimulate private sector investment and combine this with targeted and efficient public-sector support,” said President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith in his blog.

The strategy of turning to the unused TV spectrum, or white spaces, to expand high-speed Internet is not new for Microsoft, as they have previously used vacant airwaves to provide cheap, wireless broadband. While it requires a wide range of solutions in connecting people, the company decided to use the TV spectrum instead of fiber optic cables or fixed wireless technology such as LTE, because it costs less.

Some experts say that Microsoft’s plan may not be the best way on widening the coverage of internet connection.  “They are making a lot of wild promises. Their white space idea has been around for over a decade and has proven to be a complete, abject failure,” said Dennis Wharton, the Executive Vice President of the National Association of Broadcasters.

The company targets to have pilot programs up and running within the next year in Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Georgia, New York, and Maine.

Photo by: Microsoft via Wikimedia.commons