Do you live in a rural area with limited internet options? Yesterday Microsoft announced plans to expand their wireless internet service to 3 million rural Americans over the next three years. Microsoft is hoping they can close the gap between urban American internet and rural American internet.
“At Microsoft we believe this is an urgent national problem that can and must be solved. In the summer of 2017 we called for a national effort and set an ambitious goal—to eliminate the country’s rural broadband gap by July 4, 2022. Closing the broadband gap will require a focused and comprehensive solution that combines private sector capital investment in innovative technologies with targeted financial and regulatory support from the public sector,” Microsoft said in a blog post on their site.
Microsoft’s rural service is called Airband and offers wireless internet to American in 16 states with nine more on the way in 2019. These states include Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, California, Washington, Montana, South Dakota, and Iowa. Microsoft is planning to use the now old 600 MHz spectrum that over-the-air TV uses to create super Wi-Fi that will bring wireless internet to millions of Americans.
According to research from Microsoft, 23.4 million people in rural areas around the country have inadequate access to internet services. This is one step toward connecting those individuals to the benefits of internet access.
While 3 million of 23.4 million may seem small, Microsoft is not alone. Other companies are rushing to offer wireless internet services in rural America. It may not happen overnight, but slowly rural America is seeing new and faster internet options.
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