Microsoft announced today that it is bolstering its efforts to bring over-the-air broadband internet to underserved communities through a new partnership with RADWIN, a firm with vast experience in delivering wireless broadband access.
Through the partnership, both companies will focus on utilizing TV white space over UHF bands to bring broadband connectivity to rural communities, where terrain or the remoteness of the locations make delivering internet by conventional means difficult.
The move is an expansion of Microsoft's Airband initiative, which is focused on bringing wireless broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the globe. Speaking on the partnership, Paul Garnett, senior director of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, said:
The TV White Space radio ecosystem is rapidly growing, and we are excited to work with RADWIN to bring innovative technologies to market at a global scale. Our partnership with RADWIN, a recognized global leader in fixed wireless broadband access, will help address the rural broadband gap for residents and businesses, enabling farmers, healthcare professionals, educators, business leaders and others to fully participate in the digital economy.
Microsoft last year revealed a goal of eliminating the "rural broadband gap" in the U.S. by 2022 by using unused TV broadcast frequencies. It's an ambitious goal, seeking to cover two million people, but Microsoft is also hoping to spur investment from other companies and the public sector. Further, Microsoft approached the project after gaining experience in leveraging TV white spaces for internet delivery through initiatives in 17 other countries around the globe.
Over-the-air signals aren't the only area where Microsoft is looking at novel solutions for internet connectivity. The company last month announced it had expanded a pilot project to bring quickly deployable and sustainable internet solutions to coastal cities with underwater data centers.
RADWIN and Microsoft plan to introduce TV white space solutions to other partners and the telecommunications industry in the second half of 2019.
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