Published: Wed, July 12, 2017
Research | By Elizabeth Houston

Microsoft has a insane plan to get high-speed broadband to everyone

Microsoft has a insane plan to get high-speed broadband to everyone

Unused TV white spaces operating in the 600 MHz frequency range will be repurposed for Microsoft's projects, and these frequencies have enough bandwidth to help deliver internet to thousands of homes. "They have to have longer-term vision". The National Association of Broadcasters, a trade group, said that only 800 devices that worked with white-spaces technology had been registered with regulators. The group said the buffer zones, though now unused, are important for preventing adjacent channels from interfering with each other.

The technology isn't new - Microsoft and others have been trying to tackle the problem since at least 2008. "The real challenge is getting the number of users, the scale".

To make it work, Microsoft says the FCC will have to guarantee that these buffer zones remain available nationwide - and make even more such zones available in rural areas. Other companies, including Google, have made similar requests. In many rural parts of the United States, Internet access is inferior, as in many sites people rely on poor cable connections, radio-powered modems, or satellites to have access to the web. Brake said some of those stations "might get bumped off in a few markets" if those airwaves are reserved for broadband internet service. It will work with local internet service providers like Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities in Virginia and Axiom Technologies in ME by investing in some of the capital costs and then sharing in revenue. There, the tech company partnered with Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities and the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. The project is providing free internet for local students to access educational websites, and charging customers who want expanded service.

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The Microsoft executive noted that the event will take place at the Willard Hotel, where Alexander Graham Bell held a demonstration of a long-distance phone call 101 years ago. Microsoft wants the FCC to ensure that at least three channels below 700 MHz are kept unlicensed in all markets in the U.S., with additional TV white spaces for even smaller markets and rural areas.

The company plans to have pilot programs up and running within the next year in Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona, Kansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Georgia, New York and Maine.

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