Earlier this week, Microsoft announced its plan to invest in rural broadband across the United States. Their plan is to, in short, utilize the white space in the 600 MHz band to provide high-speed Internet access to under-served areas across the nation. Right now, the project will launch in 12 states, and Georgia is one of those targeted states.
Rural broadband access is something that our elected officials have taken notice of and are evaluating options.
They’re focused on investment and partnerships with telecommunications companies rather than entering the industry itself according to the blog post from Microsoft’s Brad Smith. Some telecoms are already making plans to utilize the 600 MHz band for 5G, the next generation of mobile data transmission. T-Mobile, who was the top bidder along with Dish Network and Comcast for the 600 MHz band, announced in May of its plan to offer 5G broadband service using the reallocated band. I also mentioned back in February about how the future 5G wireless standard would help connect rural Georgians with high-speed Internet access.
Wireless will certainly be a more economical way of reaching remote users when laying cable is a prohibitive expense. I’ll be interested to see how Microsoft’s initiative unfolds.