Bringing broadband to rural Americans has been a battle for as long as the Internet has been around. Last year the FCC did a study and published a report that it would cost an estimated $80 billion to bring broadband to all of rural America.
While the government does plan to spend more on rural broadband as part of a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, it seems Microsoft has decided not to wait around for them.
Microsoft has announced an aggressive broadband plan to bring high speed Internet to two million more people in Georgia, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin over the next 12 months. While that won’t solve our broadband problem, it will be a huge step forward for two million Americans.
Microsoft is planning to use the now old 600 MHz spectrum that over-the-air TV uses to create super Wi-Fi that will bring wireless Internet to millions of Americans.
This plan is similar to what Google, Charter, Dish, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and others are planning with their 5G networks. The goal is to offer high speed Internet over the air similar to how cellphone towers work. Now the 5G and Microsoft plans are built with the idea of home Internet use in mind. So current limitations of 4G and 3G won’t be an issue.
5G has been the stuff of dreams for many for years but is now finally coming to reality. Both Verizon and AT&T have networks in select markets live and being used by customers. These 5G networks offer gigabyte speeds with similar performance to fiber Internet. The best part is instead of running a wire to every house in a town for fiber, a process that could take years, they can now add 5G to existing cellphone towers and have a whole town covered with fiber Internet speeds in just a few months.
The other real benefit of 5G on top of bringing Internet to rural America is it will bring competition to the Internet market. Currently many Americans have two, maybe three, options if they are lucky. Soon many Americans may have five or six home Internet services fighting for their business.
The current goal is to have over half the United States covered with 5G sometime in 2020.
Source: USA Today
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