Microsoft President Brad Smith on Tuesday (July 11) proposed a plan to “close the rural broadband gap”, bringing internet access to millions of people in the rural United States by using TV white spaces, fixed wireless and satellite coverage.
Smith unveiled the plan at a luncheon in Washington, D.C.
“We believe that there is an ambitious but achievable goal that this country can pursue. It is to close the rural broadband gap in five years, by July 4th. 2022, to ensure that all of these 23.4 million Americans that lack this connectivity today can benefit by then,” Smith said.
Microsoft plans to use vacant television channels, or “white spaces”, to increase connectivity in 12 states including, Arizona, Washington, Wisconsin, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, New York, Maine, Virginia, Michigan and North and South Dakota.
Brad said that the initiative is not a for-profit project, rather it will invest in resources that can bring internet connectivity to these rural areas. The initiative started in Kenya and now spans 17 countries.