Microsoft Corp. and an Ohio-based supplier of telecommunications services introduced a contract Tuesday to extend broadband internet access to unserved rural areas of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois over the coming 3 yrs.
The deal among Microsoft and Lima-based Watch Communications goals to make reliable high-speed internet available to another 815,000 individuals all through the region. That features 288,000 of the roughly 1 million Ohioans who federal figures show aren’t currently utilizing the internet at high speeds.
The project is a part of Microsoft’s national Airband Initiative, which is looking for to fill regions unserved by high-speed internet throughout the nation. Among its partnerships is a deal Microsoft struck last year with Canton-based Agile Networks to reach thousands of unserved folks in rural Ohio.
McKinley, Microsoft’s head of technology, mentioned Microsoft had done its analysis to determine what areas lack high-speed internet. That’s as a result of issues with the way the Federal Communications Commission has collected data have left service suppliers with the little real idea of where high-speed internet exists and where it doesn’t.
“It’s an imperfect manner of collecting data,” she stated. “And ultimately what that means is we don’t know where there isn’t the internet. So how do you solve an issue whenever you don’t even know what the issue is you’re trying to solve?”
The Watch Communications venture will zero in on areas Microsoft’s data maps have identified in all 88 Ohio counties, she mentioned. The mission will involve closing gaps between existing broadband networks utilizing a combination of technologies.
“Cleveland goes to be the first 5G city in Ohio, which is quicker connectivity than anyone’s ever had earlier than, on the identical time we have all of these folks that live in rural areas who don’t have any access,” he mentioned. “It’s making a digital divide, which creates both an economic and academic divide.”