Microsoft Working to End Broadband Gap in Rural America

Microsoft is working to close the broadband gap in rural America. However, a DTN report says the company needs the help of rural resident’s to accomplish that task. Shelly McKinley, Microsoft general manager of technology and corporate responsibility, spoke recently at the Nebraska Rural Futures Institute. She says high-speed internet is now a necessity of life, while comparing the push to expand access across rural areas to the push to bring electricity to rural areas in the 20th century. Microsoft has put together a plan on how to improve rural connectivity, called the Rural Airband Initiative.

Among the methods that Microsoft wants to use to get the internet out to rural areas is to use TV white space spectrum. McKinley says white spaces are the grainy channels on your TV that aren’t being used by broadcast channels. The Federal Communications Commission oversees the white space spectrum, and Microsoft wants the FCC to ensure the continued use of these channels, as well as provide more spectrum for similar use. A big advantage of using white space spectrum is the signal has the ability to go through natural barriers, such as trees. Microsoft is asking rural residents to contact their elected officials and ask them to push the FCC for more white space access to help close the broadband gap.

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