Microsoft Plans Broadband Over Airwaves

Microsoft Plans Broadband Over Airwaves
Microsoft has unveiled a plan to provide high-speed internet connectivity over unused TV broadcast spectrum.

(CCM) — Microsoft has announced a revolutionary new scheme which will bring high-speed internet services to areas that are too remote for conventional broadband. The Rural Airband Initiative will use unused parts of the electromagnetic spectrum reserved for television broadcasting to provide the internet service, and in the first five years it hopes to provide connectivity to about two million people, according to a Reuters report. Microsoft hopes to launch 12 products in 12 states within the next 12 months.

"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."

The company estimates that it will cost about $12 billion to provide broadband services to all 23 million people who currently do not have a high-speed internet service.

Microsoft's business increasingly relies on the provision of cloud-based services, so it makes sense for the company to try to provide internet connectivity to those who cannot currently make use of those services. Once they have it, the company can encourage them to use Bing, Office 365, Outlook, Skype, and other cloud-based services.

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