Microsoft publicizes proposal to get high-speed internet to rural Americans

Microsoft publicizes proposal to get high-speed internet to rural Americans
The Siliconreview
14 July, 2017

Tech giant Microsoft Corp recently made an announcement for an plan to bring high-speed internet to millions of rural Americans through unused television airwaves in a long-term bet for user growth.

The Redmond, Washington, technology company projected by means of range characteristically set aside for TV stations to broadcast high-speed internet to underserved US locations. To start, Microsoft will entrust to a five-year attempt to fetch broadband connectivity to 2 million underserved rural Americans.

Tech giant Microsoft, whose products encompass the Windows operating system, Office 365 productivity suite and Skype video service, expect that the other companies and the government will hold up what it has dubbed the Rural Airband Initiative. However, the plan has fascinated resistance from broadcasters who are unwilling to divide up the airwaves.

“This is really all about getting everybody online in rural communities,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal officer, told Reuters. “That includes consumers, it includes businesses, it includes farmers and agricultural enterprises and it includes schools.”

Attaining all 23 million underserved rural Americans would cost as much as $12 billion, Microsoft said. Smith said the company will expend whatever it takes to get to the targeted 2 million people. It also strategies to start on at least 12 projects across 12 states within the next 12 months, and has partnerships with telecom companies including CenturyLink Inc in Washington state, and hopes for more partners, Smith said.

Our goal is to work with as many people as possible,” he said, adding he expects the Trump Administration will think government funding for the project as part of an infrastructure bill predictable in the fall.

My sense is that they are focused on a full range of infrastructure needs, including 21st century infrastructure like broadband,” Smith said. “We welcome the dialogue.”

Expensive equipment is considered as one reason among the challenges. Microsoft bets that costs will come down, but that is not yet guaranteed. While opposition from broadcasters is also a major worry.

“Policymakers should not be misled by slick Microsoft promises,” said Dennis Wharton, vice president of communications for the National Association of Broadcasters, in a statement.