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Microsoft wants to bring 2 million rural Americans online by 2022

Microsoft wants to bring 2 million rural Americans online by 2022”

He says the powerful bandwidth will allow wireless signals to travel over hills and through buildings and trees.

The Rural Airband Initiative will invest in partnerships with telecommunications companies to create 12 projects in 12 states in the next 12 months. It notes that "white spaces" are not available everywhere and would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to set aside more spectrum for that use. Microsoft wants the FCC to ensure that at least three channels below 700 MHz are kept unlicensed in all markets in the USA, with additional TV white spaces for even smaller markets and rural areas.

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Microsoft's initiative, unveiled Tuesday, comes as policy makers struggle to extend high-speed internet services to rural areas, which cable and phone companies have often shunned as cost prohibitive.

Microsoft, whose products include the Windows operating system, Office 365 productivity suite and Skype video service, hopes other companies and the government will support what it has dubbed the Rural Airband Initiative.

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Along with Microsoft, Google and Facebook have both been looking to lay their own broadband technology into rural America. Microsoft will invest in the upfront capital projects needed to expand broadband coverage, seek a revenue share from operators to recoup their investment, and then use these revenue proceeds to invest in additional projects to expand coverage further. "We're confident that this approach is good for the country and even for our business". Getting more people connected in rural areas has been a priority of President Donald Trump's administration. The South Boston, Virginia-based telecommunications provider will contribute another $250,000 and use a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

Microsoft has a plan to get everyone in the United States fixed wireless broadband access. The chance to create a new addressable market with around 24 million potential customers in the U.S.is a decent carrot to enlist the help of regional ISPs.

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Smith will give a speech on Tuesday in which he plans to unveil a white paper outlining steps for the private and public sectors to take to connect the hard-to-reach areas of the country. Lastly, Microsoft plans to invest in digital skills training for people in rural communities as well.



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