Microsoft takes next step in eliminating
US broadband gap


Over 19 million people living in rural America lack access to broadband. Working with partners, the Microsoft Airband Initiative, launched in July 2017, initially aimed to bring broadband to 2 million Americans in rural communities.

Brad Smith


After a successful first year, Microsoft President Brad Smith announced the company would be raising its goal for the program and increasing its commitment. The program will reach three million Americans in rural communities by July 4, 2022, and is adding states, bringing the total to 25 states served by late 2019. The focus is also on helping catalyze an ecosystem to connect millions more.


“Over the past five years, the FCC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided more than $22 billion in subsidies and grants to telecommunications carriers to sustain, extend and improve broadband in rural America.” However, “the country’s adoption of broadband hasn’t budged much since 2013. This inability to build out the last mile of the 21st century’s digital infrastructure has exacerbated the country’s growing prosperity and opportunity divides.” These divisions “often fall along urban and rural lines.


“Without a proper broadband connection, rural communities can’t start or run a modern business, access telemedicine, take an online class, digitally transform their farm or research a school project online.” The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data shows the “highest unemployment rates are frequently located in the counties with the lowest availability of broadband. As a nation, we can’t afford to turn our backs on these communities as we head into the future.”


“We continue to believe that TV white spaces technology can be a game changer for rural America. We’re confident that using a mixed model that combines wireless technologies including 4G and TV white spaces, traditional fibre-based connectivity, and satellite coverage can dramatically reduce the cost and time of extending broadband access to rural communities across America.”


Microsoft Airband Initiative is in 16 states now and is expected to be in 25 states by the end of 2019.

© Copyright Prysmian Group.

All rights reserved.

© Copyright Prysmian Group.

All rights reserved.