A couple of years ago, Microsoft launched the Airband Initiative to bring broadband access to two million people in the rural U.S. - a goal which was later increased to three million. Recent steps taken to further the program include a digital alliance with the U.S. state of Vermont, and a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
Today, Microsoft has announced a new team-up with Watch Communications, in order to expand broadband services to more people in the U.S. states of Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. The collaboration aims to cover a total of four million people living in these regions, 815,000 of whom live in rural areas without broadband access.
Watch Communications will be installing various connectivity technologies, with primary focus upon the leveraging of TV white space solutions. Overall, 50 counties in Indiana, 22 in Illinois, and "most" in Ohio are said to benefit from the deployment of these solutions. More specifically, the partnership will aim to serve one million people living in Indiana, two and a half million in Ohio, and 275,000 in Illinois. Furthermore, both firms will ensure that these people know how to fully make use of better connectivity, while also training them to utilize educational opportunities.
This isn't the first time some of the aforementioned states have been included under the Airband Initiative. In September, Microsoft teamed up with Agile Networks to bring high-speed internet access to 110,000 in rural Ohio, and the very next month, a deal was agreed with Network Business Systems to serve rural communities in Illinois, among other U.S. states. Either way, it looks like the tech giant is well upon its way to complete its initially set goals for the program.