Microsoft has chosen Redline Communications to supply equipment for the Microsoft Airband initiative to bring fixed wireless broadband to rural areas using vacant TV spectrum known as TV white spaces. The Microsoft Airband Redline deal involves Redline’s Virtual Fiber radio technology.

“Our work with Redline will increase the availability of competitively priced TV White Space technology, enabling internet service providers (ISPs) to provide access to customers at an affordable price point,” Paul Garnett, the senior director of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, said in a press release. “This availability and utilization of TV White Space is absolutely critical to closing the broadband gap. This partnership will bring rapid evolution to the technology, making a real impact on real lives.”

The Airband Initiative
The Airband Initiative aims to use TV white space technology and other technologies to provide broadband access to 2 million unserved people in rural America by 2022.

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There are emerging wireless-based technologies that are enabling expanding broadband coverage to underserved and unserved territories. These include TV white space, Wi-Fi, and advanced LTE. There even are high altitude balloon technologies that can help more isolated populations.

Microsoft is quite busy with the Airband initiative, having announced several partners in the past year.

Those announcements include:

  • Last month, Microsoft said that it will work with Network Business Systems to bring services to about 126,700 previously unserved people in rural communities in Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota.
  • In August, Agile Networks and Airband said they will partner to offer high speed broadband to 110,000 people in rural Ohio.
  • Also in August, Microsoft awarded startup funding to eight companies as part of its Airband Grant Fund. The companies in the U.S. are Numbers4Health; Skylark Wireless; Cy Wireless and Tribal Digital Village.
  • In July, RTO Wireless partnered with Airband to provide services to 290,000 people in rural New York and Maine.
  • In April, Microsoft partnered with Declaration Networks Group to bring fixed wireless to 65,000 people on the eastern shore of Virginia during the next five years.

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