UPDATE Last week Microsoft announced a partnership with Watch Communications. Greg Jarman Chief Operations Officer at Watch Communications concurred, saying, “Public-private partnerships, collaboration and understanding local initiatives are key to enabling connectivity success. Providing rural broadband can be difficult, so working as a team to solve the digital divide requires partners.”
The two companies are part of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative which aims to bring broadband to three million rural residents across Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. Taking a common sense approach to connectivity, the partnership expects to use available resources. Specifically, TV White Spaces in locations with few inhabitants or geographic challenges could extend broadband to previously unreachable areas, say the companies. TV White Spaces are the unlicensed bandwidth between channels. There are also plans to provide ongoing training for people who are new to the possibilities available through the internet.
“Every person deserves the same opportunity. But too often and in too many places, these opportunities are limited by where people live and their access to reliable and affordable broadband access,” said Microsoft Technology and Corporate Responsibility general manager, Shelley McKinley. “Microsoft is working across the country to close this gap. We’re partnering with Watch Communications to improve broadband access in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio and build on the incredible work being done by state and local leaders on this issue on behalf of their citizens.”
The increased technological advantages to farmers who can get quick and accurate information to protect their crops is expected to be a financial boon to the newly connected rural communities.
July 16, 2019