Microsoft to invest $10bn for fast internet in U.S. heartlands

Posted July 12, 2017

Microsoft has announced plans to help build the availability to high-speed Internet across rural areas of the United States.

The campaign is called the Rural Airband Initiative and is an effort to bring high-speed Internet to millions of American households.

The project will rely on a new "white-space" technology, which beams internet data over unused television broadcast frequencies. He says the powerful bandwidth will allow wireless signals to travel over hills and through buildings and trees.

Microsoft plans to work with regional telecom companies to invest in at least a dozen projects in 12 states over the next year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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He also pointed to what he said was Microsoft seeking a free government handout to use the spectrum, rather than bidding for airwaves through the Federal Communications Commission's incentive auction. "Microsoft's white space device development has been a well-documented, unmitigated failure".

In a blog post, Smith said that the US should aim to eliminate the urban-rural internet access gap by July 4, 2022.

Regarding Microsoft opinion, this proposition is aimed at conveying fast wireless internet, which is the correct way to enhance connectivity in parts of the country that broadband providers have long avoided.

"Our goal is not to enter the telecommunications business ourselves or even to profit directly from these projects", explains Smith. He explained that Microsoft will invest in the upfront capital needed to expand the broadband coverage and that they'll seek a revenue share from operators to recoup their investment.

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Microsoft also released a video where they explain their mission for the Rural Airband Initiative in Virginia. Microsoft envisions the project as a nationwide catalyst to bring online the estimated 34 million Americans who don't have affordable access to the Web. Smith is now calling on the USA government to help with the effort.

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.

Microsoft said it will pilot its initiative in rural communities in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

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