TV White Spaces Broadband

Technology Brings Internet to Underserved Communities

Though the United States is a global technology leader, 34 million Americans do not have adequate, affordable access to high-speed internet.

map showing limited access to broadband for rural Americans
Credit: Wall Street Journal

Without affordable, reliable broadband connectivity, people around the country, especially in rural areas, are held back by limited access to educational, employment, and business opportunities.

But proven technology exists that can affordably bring wireless broadband to communities across the nation, especially in rural America. This technology utilizes a part of spectrum known as TV white spaces to deliver broadband access over nearly 10 miles, compared to Wi-Fi’s reach of approximately 100-325 yards. TV white spaces are spectrum that can be used for TV and radio broadcasts, as well as to deliver fast, affordable, reliable internet access. This emerging technology is already successfully extending broadband in countries around the world.

See Microsoft’s vision for TV white space and dynamic spectrum technologies:

In the U.S., technology providers are ready to begin rolling out this new broadband solution, but first policy action is needed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Specifically, the FCC must preserve three unused TV white spaces channels in every market across the country for wireless broadband. This policy will open the doors to bringing high-speed internet to millions of Americans who currently lack access, as well as provide additional broadband choices in urban areas.

 

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Resources

A rural broadband strategy: connecting rural America to new opportunities – Microsoft on the Issues

Microsoft calls for U.S. strategy to eliminate rural broadband gap within 5 years –  Microsoft News Center

What is TV White Space? – Video from Adaptrum

Case Study: MBC Homework Gap Project – Video from Adaptrum

Bringing Connectivity to All Corners of the UK with TV White Space – Video from Nominet

Dynamic Spectrum and TV White Spaces – Microsoft Research Website