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Today, Microsoft announced the launch of its Rural Airband Initiative to bring high-speed broadband to 2 million people in rural America. The Airband Initiative relies on the TV white spaces (TVWS), an open spectrum technology similar to Wi-Fi (sometimes called “super Wi-Fi”).
The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge:
“For years, Public Knowledge has urged the Federal Communications Commission to manage the public airwaves to make greater use of TV white spaces. Although the technology has been deployed in some rural communities for high-tech ‘precision farming’ and by some wireless ISPs, the cost of equipment has discouraged widespread adoption. Public Knowledge has repeatedly pressed the FCC to adopt rules that would make TVWS technology more affordable for rural communities, but resistance from the National Association of Broadcasters has consistently delayed FCC action.
“Microsoft’s proposal to ‘seed’ TVWS technology guarantees that if the FCC will prioritize rural broadband over broadcast lobbyists, we can solve the digital divide and make affordable broadband available to all Americans. It's time for the FCC to put broadcast lobbyists on mute and manage the public airwaves for the benefit of the public.”
You may view more information on Microsoft’s rural broadband strategy here.