Rural Internet Access Problems Solution With New Technology

By | February 3, 2018

Rural Areas may curb internet access problems with this new technology. The rural areas in Illinois yet don’t have proper internet coverage more so than other states in the United States of America.


As per the records of Federal Communications Commission, around 1.2 million, or 9 percent of people of Illinois don’t have access to a broadband internet connection. Out of this, 56% of the people in rural Illinois, that is 770,000; don’t have access to broadband internet connection. The national average for the same is 40 percent, and Illinois has significantly higher stats.

To curb this problem of connectivity, a new idea to use over the air (OTA) signals, not used by televisions anymore, has emerged. Microsoft has started an initiative called Airband which has already connected communities in rural places such as rural southern Virginia, African country of Namibia. The initiative makes use of unused frequencies, or whitespace. The same is used for transferring data from a provider to the consumer.

In theory, this should deliver a speed of 15-20Mbps over a 6MHz channel. This is much higher than what many people in US are getting right now. There are also other technologies that can provide internet connection in rural areas but their costs are extremely expensive for people to afford.

The normal broadband connections in rural Illinois are either direct subscriber link or DSL with speed up to 6Mbps only, or subscriber of satellite broadband with just 2Mbps speed.

On the other hand, the urban areas enjoy a speed of up to 2 Gbps or 2,000Mbps. This applies to cable internet connection, though.

People in Oshana District in the northern part of Namibia up against Angola border have better broadband connectivity than the people living in rural Illinois. This state of internet in rural Illinois is unacceptable for Microsoft’s Airband Initiative.

If two channels are used then the technology can deliver speed up to 29Mbps and new improvements would further increase the data transfer rates.

Microsoft’s Airband Initiative was started in last July. Now, the primary goal of the initiative is to partner with a lot of businesses to realizing the technology to connect 2 million rural American to broadband by the end of 2022.

The president of Microsoft, Brad Smith, said last July that it will become vital for FCC to regulate the nationwide access of three of the low frequency channels for unlicensed usage.

As a consequence, there will be an increase in investment by hardware companies for production of required chips for new devices more in quantity and at lesser cost.

FCC should create a nationwide market for TV white space technology so that rural Americans can take advantage of the scale that would be created by it.

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