Posted on Leave a comment

How rural areas can be connected to the internet with unused TV frequencies

In today’s increasingly tech and digital world, it’s important that everyone is included.

Access to high-speed internet has become a basic necessity of everyday life. Yet currently, Microsoft data suggests more than half of the country is not using the internet at broadband speeds.

The Microsoft Airband Initiative is bridging the digital divide by bringing broadband connectivity to remote communities. One cost-effective method involves using TV White Spaces – the unused frequencies between the signals of existing TV channels. Regulators allow wireless devices to transmit on these unoccupied channels as long as they do not interfere with TV broadcasters and other licensed users.

[Read more: What telephones and television can teach us about the adoption of broadband]

White Space signals can travel long distances, penetrating natural and human-built obstacles, and can leverage existing towers and infrastructure being used to transmit other wireless signals. Network operators can harness this White Space spectrum to deliver fast, reliable and cost-effective broadband internet access to rural communities and hard-to-reach areas.

Closing the rural broadband gap requires a cost-efficient mixed-technology approach and fixed wireless technologies such as TV White Spaces play an integral role. Other technologies include fiber and satellite. A combination of TV white spaces and other fixed wireless solutions are the ideal and most cost-effective solutions for areas where population density is between 2 and 200 inhabitants per square mile, which represents roughly 80% of those impacted by the rural broadband gap.

Access to broadband means rural businesses can take part in the digital economy; students can use online learning resources; and farmers can use precision agriculture to increase productivity. It also enables remote access to basic and specialized healthcare services.

By July 2022, the initiative’s goal is to extend broadband access to 3 million Americans living in rural parts of the country.

Read more about the Microsoft Airband Initiative. And follow @MSFTIssues on Twitter

Posted on Leave a comment

Nextlink Internet and Microsoft closing broadband gap in central US

The agreement could bring broadband access to benefit more than 9 million people, including approximately 1 million in unserved rural areas

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 18, 2019 — On Wednesday, Nextlink Internet and Microsoft Corp. announced a partnership that will help close the broadband gap in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, bringing high-speed internet to hundreds of rural communities. The agreement will further enable Nextlink to substantially expand their coverage areas and is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which is focused on addressing this national crisis, with the goal of extending broadband access to over 3 million unserved people in rural America by July 2022.

Lack of broadband connectivity is a pervasive national issue, and particularly acute in rural areas of the country. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that more than 21 million Americans lack broadband access, the vast majority of whom live in rural areas that continue to lag the national rate of broadband usage. The problem is almost certainly larger than that, though, as other studies and data sources, including Microsoft data, have found that 162 million people across the United States are not using the internet at broadband speeds, including approximately 29 million people across Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

“It’s time to deliver on the connectivity promises that have been made to people across the country, and this partnership will help do that for many who have been left behind and unserved in the heartland of America,” said Shelley McKinley, vice president, Technology and Corporate Responsibility at Microsoft. “In the past two years with our Airband Initiative, we’ve seen that progress is possible — particularly when the public and private sectors come together. Partnerships with regional ISPs like Nextlink that have the desire and wherewithal to provide internet connectivity are a critical part of closing the broadband gap and helping families, children, farmers, businesses and whole communities to not only survive, but thrive in the 21st century.”

Nextlink will deploy a variety of broadband connectivity technologies to bring these areas under coverage, including wireless technologies leveraging TV white spaces (e.g., unused TV frequencies) in select markets. Nextlink will continue its deployments in Texas and Oklahoma and immediately begin deployment efforts in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois, with rollouts planned through 2024.

Nextlink CEO Bill Baker noted, “Nextlink is tremendously excited about the opportunity to join forces with Microsoft. This agreement will accelerate the rollout of high-speed broadband access to underserved areas that are desperate for this critical service. This in turn will make those areas more attractive for employers who require high-speed broadband to operate. By itself, this project is going to generate hundreds of full-time, long-term jobs in rural communities as Nextlink builds out and services the required networks. The overall impact to rural communities in terms of job creation and increased viability for all employers is tremendous.”

“This partnership will enable the coming of precision agriculture, IoT, digital healthcare, access to higher education and overall economic growth,” said Ted Osborn, Nextlink SVP of Strategy & Regulatory Affairs. “Our experience tells us that advanced broadband access and community support can make these promises a reality in relatively short order.”

Improved connectivity will bolster economic, educational and telehealth opportunities for everyone in the region, and could be particularly impactful for farmers. Together, the states covered in part by this deal — Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas — account for more than $120 billion in annual agricultural value, or 29% of the agricultural output of the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). With broadband access, farmers can gain better access to markets and take advantage of advancements in precision agriculture, enabling them to better monitor crops and increase their yields, which can translate into significant economic returns. The USDA estimates widespread use of connected technologies for agricultural production has the potential to unlock over $47 billion in annual gross benefit for the United States.

The partnership builds on Microsoft and Nextlink’s efforts to close the digital divide. Nextlink is familiar with the needs of rural communities and was awarded federal Connect America Fund funding to expand broadband access to unserved rural communities. The companies will also work together to ensure that, once connectivity is available in these regions, people will receive the digital skills training to help them take advantage of the economic and social benefits that come with broadband access.

About Nextlink Internet  

Nextlink Internet, LLC is a residential and commercial internet access and phone services provider based in Hudson Oaks, Texas. The company is a leading provider of broadband services to rural school districts and municipalities. Since 2013, the company has organically attracted over 36,000 broadband subscribers using solely private capital and has managed industry-leading operating metrics. Nextlink optimizes its IP-based optical-fiber and fixed wireless network with an unrelenting commitment to customer service to achieve high customer satisfaction.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, rrt@we-worldwide.com

Dale Curtis for Nextlink Internet, dale@dalecurtiscommunications.com, (202) 246-5659

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Closing the rural broadband gap is an urgent national crisis

It’s been clear to us for some time that the digital divide in this country is an urgent national crisis that must be solved. Since 2017, we’ve been working with internet service providers to do just that, through our Airband Initiative, and we’re on track to cover 3 million Americans in unserved rural areas by 2022.

It’s encouraging to see this issue rise in national prominence, through funding from the administration, congressional legislation and most recently new proposals introduced by several candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. While there’s been some progress already, solving the broadband gap will require active engagement as well as effective policy proposals from all parts of the public sector.

It’s time to recognize that inequal access to broadband translates into inequality of opportunity. People in rural areas that lack broadband face higher unemployment rates, see fewer job and economic opportunities and place children from these communities behind their suburban and peers in school. Of course, this is not just a rural issue – broadband deserts exist within very urban areas as well, where costs can be unaffordable and availability non-existent.

To be sure, there are efforts underway to provide the funding and assistance needed to expand broadband coverage for rural areas, by the administration, Congress, governors and the private sector, including Microsoft and our Airband partners. But much more needs to be done to translate proposals into action.

That’s why we’re at the Iowa State Fair this week as well. Microsoft is hosting a booth, where we’ll learn from Iowans about their digital realities, discuss what we can do through the Airband Initiative to help and what other opportunities can be unlocked with reliable, affordable broadband access. We hope to discuss the issue with political leaders attending the fair as well.

Solving the broadband gap should be a national issue because we are leaving millions of Americans behind. We look forward to working with both sides of the aisle to make meaningful progress on this important national issue.

Tags: ,

Posted on Leave a comment

What telephones and television can teach us about the adoption of broadband

New technology can help transform lives and communities all over the world. In the United Statesthe FCC’s most recent report found that more than 21 million Americans lack broadband access. And Microsoft’s data suggest that as many as 162.8 million people in United States do not use the internet at broadband speeds.

Based on the way older technology was rolled out, waiting for organic rates of adoption to close that digital divide is not an option. Especially when the physical infrastructure required to support wires is concerned.  

[Subscribe to Microsoft on the Issues for more on the topics that matter most.] 

Lessons from the past 

Landlines are an example of a wired technology that was slow to take off. Alexander Graham Bell made the first long-distance telephone call in 1877. But it was not until a century later that the technology reached everyone.   

Cell phones, however, took just 14 years to get to the point where just about everyone in the U.S. had one. More recently, the smartphone made even that achievement look sluggish; within eight years it, too, had reached majority adoption.  

Likewise, it took 25 years for radio to reach near-majority adoption across the U.S. By comparison, cable TV was just above 60% within the same time period. 

The slow adoption of the landline compared to the smartphone – as well as cable TV in relation to color TV and radio – can be seen below 

Chart showing adoption of the landline compared to the smartphone, cable TV, color TV and radio
Source: Our World in Data

Similarly, the adoption of electricity was slow. Household electricity wasn’t commonplace until the 1920s, and then only in cities. It revolutionized almost every aspect of life in the cities and suburbs. But in rural areas of the U.S., only 10% of the 6 million farms were connected by 1930.

The slow adoption of wired technologies compared to wireless technologies can be seen in this graph. The penetration of wired technologies plateaus at around 70% in the U.S.

Chart showing wired technologies compared to wireless technologies
Source: Our World in Data

Closing the gap

The reasons for slow rates of wire-based take-up are numerous, and include lower population densities and greater distances between dwellings.

Microsoft believes closing today’s digital divide is a priority and that failing to do so risks leaving behind millions of people.

Fast, reliable internet access is now a necessity for everything from accessing educational resources and building a business, to finding a job and accessing better healthcare.

The Microsoft Airband Initiative is one route to closing the gap. It is based on providing coverage via a range of technologies, including TV white spaces – those unused parts of the broadcast frequency.

Ensuring that last 30% adoption is given the support needed is something that can’t be left to the market alone. It calls for a collaborative approach to finding solutions and overcoming barriers.

For more on the Microsoft Airband Initiative, visit www.microsoft.com/en-us/airband/technology. And follow @MSFTIssues on Twitter.

Posted on Leave a comment

Watch Communications and Microsoft announce partnership to bring broadband internet to Indiana, Ohio and Illinois

Deployment of technologies, including TV white spaces, is expected to cover more than four million people in the region, including 815,000 people in rural areas currently without access to broadband

REDMOND, Wash. — July 9, 2019 — On Tuesday, Watch Communications and Microsoft Corp. announced an agreement aimed at closing the broadband gap, and the rural digital divide in particular, in the states of Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. The partnership is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which is focused on extending broadband access to three million people in rural America by July 2022.

The FCC reports that more than 21 million Americans lack broadband access. According to Microsoft data, 162 million people across the United States are not using the internet at broadband speeds, including approximately 17 million people in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. Watch Communications will deploy a variety of broadband connectivity technologies to bring these areas under coverage, with an emphasis on wireless technologies leveraging TV white spaces (e.g., unused TV frequencies) in lower population density or terrain-challenged areas to achieve improved coverage. The areas expected to benefit include 50 counties in Indiana, 22 counties in Illinois, and most counties in Ohio.

“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 Shelley McKinley, general manager, Technology and Corporate Responsibility, Microsoft. “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.”

“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. We are excited to partner with Microsoft on this initiative,” said Greg Jarman, chief operating officer, Watch Communications.

Improved connectivity will bolster economic, educational and telehealth opportunities for everyone in the region, and could be particularly impactful for this region’s farmers. Together, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio account for more than $38.5 billion in agricultural value, with all three ranking in the top 16 states by agricultural output, according to the USDA. With broadband access, farmers can take advantage of advanced technologies such as precision agriculture which can help better monitor crops and increase yields.

In addition, Watch Communications and Microsoft will work together to ensure that once connectivity is available, people know how to use it and can get the training needed to fully participate in the digital economy, access educational opportunities and access telemedicine.

***

State by State View

Indiana

This is Microsoft’s first Airband Initiative deployment in Indiana. The need for improved connectivity is acute — the FCC broadband mapping report shows that more than 673,000 people in Indiana do not have access to broadband, and Microsoft data suggests that more than 4.3 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds in the state. The partnership between Watch Communications and Microsoft is expected to cover more than 1 million Hoosiers, more than 440,000 of whom are people in rural areas that are currently unserved.

Watch Communications was a recent award winner of funds from the FCC to extend broadband services in Indiana. As a result, Watch Communications has been working with Indiana counties to develop the deployment approach that best meets the needs of the local communities. In addition to broadband, Watch Communications has been working to use its network to design an IoT network to serve Indiana businesses.

This also builds on Microsoft’s presence in Indiana. Last October, Microsoft and the Markle Foundation announced the launch of Skillful Indiana, focused on bringing investment, training, tools, and innovative methods to support workforce development in the state. In addition, the Hope FFA chapter in Indiana was recently awarded Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits, which will help FFA students develop essential digital skills for precision agriculture and IoT technologies.

Ohio

Watch Communications was a recent award winner of funds from the FCC to extend broadband services in Ohio. As a result, Watch Communications has been working with Ohio counties to develop the deployment approach that best meets the needs of the local communities.

“You can’t be a part of the modern economy or education system without access to high-speed internet, and we are taking steps in Ohio to extend broadband to those who are underserved across the state,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Thank you to Microsoft for being among the leaders on this and for being willing to consider innovative solutions to help extend opportunity to people in Ohio who need it.”

This is Microsoft’s second Airband Initiative deployment in Ohio, following an August 2018 agreement between Microsoft and Agile Networks. The need for improved connectivity is acute — the FCC broadband mapping report shows that more than 621,000 people in Ohio do not have access to broadband, while Microsoft data suggests that more than 6.9 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds in the state. The partnership between Watch Communications and Microsoft is expected to cover approximately 2.5 million people, more than 288,000 of whom are people in rural areas that are currently unserved.

This also builds on Microsoft’s presence in Ohio. Microsoft’s TEALS program is helping to deliver computer science education to Ohio students. In addition, the Arcadia FFA chapter and Triad-OHP FFA chapter in Ohio were recently awarded Microsoft FarmBeats Student Kits, which will help FFA students develop essential digital skills for precision agriculture and IoT technologies.

Illinois

This is Microsoft’s second Airband Initiative deployment in Illinois, the first being a September 2018 agreement between Microsoft and Network Business Systems to bring broadband internet to people in Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota. The need for improved connectivity is acute — the FCC broadband mapping report shows that more than 680,000 people in Illinois do not have access to broadband, while Microsoft data suggests that more than 6.6 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds in the state. The partnership between Watch Communications and Microsoft is expected to cover more than 275,000 people, more than 80,000 of whom are people in rural areas that are currently unserved.

About Watch Communications

Founded in 1992, Watch Communications is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) using a combination of fixed wireless and fiber technologies to serve residential and business customers throughout Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Watch Communications began as a wireless cable TV provider and expanded service offerings in 1998 to include Internet. Since its creation, Watch Communications has focused on unserved and underserved small and rural markets.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, rrt@we-worldwide.com

Lindsey Gardner, Watch Communications Media Requests, (419) 999-2824, media@watchcomm.net

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Posted on Leave a comment

Working together to bring broadband to rural Veterans

Our nation’s Veterans have contributed to our country in so many ways, in countless locations around the globe. When they return home, many Veterans who reside in rural areas are not able to access broadband internet which is critical to using telehealth services, gaining educational opportunities, and growing a small business or running a family farm.

There are 2.7 million Veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) who are living in rural communities, 42% of them do not have internet access at home which could support their use of VA telehealth services, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’, Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Rural Health. These rural Veterans live in areas where access to fast, reliable internet service may be limited or inaccessible and are facing higher rates of unemployment, longer drives to reach the nearest clinics and medical centers, and lower levels of educational attainment compared to their urban counterparts. Connectivity has the potential to improve this reality — with broadband, they can access telehealth services offered by the VA, identify and compete for well-paying jobs, improve and grow their own businesses, and take advantage of online education classes.

Microsoft and VA have been strategic partners, working together to improve the lives of Veterans, for more than 20 years. Today, I’m excited to share that Microsoft will begin expanding that work by helping VA to help bring connectivity to many Veterans living in rural towns and communities. Microsoft and its partners will be working with VA to provide capital, technology expertise, and training resources to bring broadband access to people in these underserved communities. Our hope is that this effort will unlock new economic opportunities, while also enhancing quality of life.

Through the partnership, we’ll help VA identify communities with Veterans in need and work with our internet service provider (ISP) partners across the nation to bring broadband services to those regions. Following our Airband Initiative model, we’ll also provide the Veterans in these newly connected communities with digital skills training so they can take advantage of the tools and services connectivity enables, including critical telehealth services provided by VA.

In the past 22 months, through the Microsoft Airband Initiative, we have seen firsthand just how many communities lack connectivity at broadband speeds and how this can hinder growth and new opportunities. We’ve also seen that partnering with ISPs to serve those most in need is an effective strategy to make progress quickly on this important issue. Our work with VA builds on those lessons and approach, which has resulted in partnerships that will bring connectivity to 1 million unserved rural residents in 16 states to date, with a plan to reach 3 million by 2022.

This also builds on our commitment to the military and Veteran community. We’re passionate about our work with this community and take a holistic approach to helping Veterans gain the critical career skills required for today’s digital economy through career training and re-training, soft-skills support, and hiring. The company’s cornerstone Veteran program, Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA), provides the Veteran community with an 18-week (or two nine-week terms) training for high-demand careers, with graduates gaining an interview for a full-time career at Microsoft or one of the company’s more than 400 hiring partners. We’re also proud of our strong network of partners, all of whom champion our same vision to assist the community.

We owe it to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Veterans living in rural communities deserve to have the broadband internet access enjoyed by many who live in urban areas. Addressing the broadband gap across the country requires innovative solutions from both the public and private sectors, and we hope this partnership will help us make significant progress toward closing the connectivity gap for the Veteran community.

Tags: , , ,

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s time for a new approach for mapping broadband data to better serve Americans

Every day, our world becomes a little more digital. But reaping the benefits of this digital world – pursuing new educational opportunities through distance learning, feeding the world through precision agriculture, growing a small business by leveraging the cloud, and accessing better healthcare through telemedicine – is only possible for those with a broadband connection, a link not available to at least 25 million people, 19 million of whom live in this country’s rural areas, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

This lack of connectivity has a very real impact on economic well-being.  There are at least six independent studies that show that broadband has a direct impact on jobs and GDP growth.  Our analysis shows that the counties with the highest unemployment also have the lowest broadband usage (and broadband access).

US map of broadband usage by state

Despite the importance of this issue, we are not making very much progress in closing the broadband gap. In the past five years, there’s been more than $22 billion in subsidies and grants to carriers to sustain, extend and improve broadband in rural America. But adoption has barely budged.

This Wednesday, the Senate Commerce Committee will explore one of the reasons progress has lagged – a continued reliance on inaccurate broadband mapping data that vastly undercounts the number of Americans without access to broadband. This has been an area of concern for some time, and below we have outlined the issues with the current approach to broadband mapping and steps the Senate, and ultimately the FCC, could take to resolve them.

The government’s most current broadband statistics come from the FCC and suggest 25 million Americans lack access to a broadband connection. There’s strong evidence, though, that the percentage of Americans without broadband access is much higher than the figures reported by the FCC.

Getting these numbers right is vitally important. This data is used by federal, state and local agencies to decide where to target public funds dedicated to closing this broadband gap. That means millions of Americans already lacking access to broadband have been made invisible, substantially decreasing the likelihood of additional broadband funding or much needed broadband service.

We’ve seen this in the past year, in many places and in many ways, including talking directly to the people who live in rural America as part of our Airband Initiative work to expand rural connectivity. We examined other data sources, including Pew Research and the FCC’s own subscription data, that show far lower usage rates than the 92 percent access reported by the FCC.

Two US maps showing broadband access
Maps showing large differences of broadband access vs. actual usage of broadband.

This led us to explore this issue ourselves. Using anonymized data that we collect as part of our ongoing work to improve the performance and security of our software and services, we found that 162.8 million people are not using the internet at broadband speeds. Our results align well with the FCC’s broadband subscription data and the Pew Research numbers, which suggests these data sets are far closer to the mark then the broadband access data reported by the FCC and leaves us with the unescapable conclusion that today there exists no accurate, comprehensive and public estimate of broadband coverage in the United States.

In our home state of Washington, the FCC data indicates that 100 percent of Ferry County residents have access to broadband. When we spoke to local officials, they indicated that very few residents in this rural county had access and those that did were using broadband in business. Our data bears this out, showing that only 2 percent of Ferry County is using broadband.

There is a Ferry County in every state. In Mississippi, the FCC indicates that broadband is available to 97.1 percent of people in Tishomingo County, while our data shows that only 3.6 percent of the county uses the internet at broadband speeds. This is not just a rural issue, either. In more urban states, like Massachusetts, the issue persists. The FCC indicates that broadband is available to 86.3 percent of the people in Berkshire County, while our data shows that 39.4 percent of the county is using the internet at broadband speeds.

These significant discrepancies across nearly all counties in all 50 states indicates there is a problem with the accuracy of the access data reported by the FCC. Additional data sources like ours, as well as work by others to examine data in a few states or regions, are important to understanding the problem. But this problem cannot be solved by more or different data alone.

There are two fundamental problems with the data used for broadband mapping right now.

  1. The request on the form the FCC uses to collect broadband data is too broad. Form 477 is the primary tool used to collect data on broadband deployment. Right now, this form asks providers if they are “providing or could without an extraordinary commitment of resources provide broadband service to an area.” If the answer is yes to either question, the area is considered covered – meaning many places are counted as covered that have no access and providers have no plans to provide it any time soon.
  2. The lack of location specificity poses challenges. The FCC data is based on census blocks, the smallest unit used by the U.S. Census Bureau – though in rural areas, these blocks can be quite large. If broadband access is delivered to a single customer in that block, the entire block is counted as having service. We must be able to count those within the census block who are unserved.

We commend Chairman Roger Wicker, Ranking Member Maria Cantwell, and all the members of the Commerce Committee for their active oversight and leadership on this issue and recommend three actions the committee could take to encourage the FCC to more quickly close the broadband gap:

  1. Remove “could provide” from the question in Form 477. We should measure actual progress, not hypothetical progress, and make funding decisions on real access data.
  2. Use both availability and actual usage (and/or subscription data) to guide investments and communicate progress moving forward. Both access and usage data sets are critically important in building a full and accurate broadband map, as access data shows the current and near-future plans and usage data helps us understand how access translates into service and verification of the availability of broadband.
  3. Fix the availability data collection and reporting challenges prior to releasing a new report on broadband mapping. Our data science team has reviewed the draft report from the FCC and compared it to our latest usage data. We found that the increase in access reported in that draft document has not translated into broadband usage growth, especially in rural areas. This demonstrates the need to make significant adjustments to methodology prior to release.

We’re encouraged by productive conversations we’ve had with many members of the Commerce Committee, as well as other members of Congress, the administration and the FCC who understand the problem and have a shared desire to provide better connectivity for all Americans. We stand ready to assist in whatever way we can, and look forward to continuing our work, both through partnering with the public sector and with providers through our Airband Initiative, to close the broadband gap, quickly.

Learn more about our data here: https://news.microsoft.com/rural-broadband/

Tags: ,