Microsoft enters rural broadband partnership to support telemedicine, education

Microsoft unveiled a project to expand broadband coverage in rural areas July 2.

For the project, Microsoft partnered with broadband wireless solutions provider Radwin to introduce internet solutions that leverage TV white spaces, or the unused spectrum between TV stations, to deliver internet connectivity to underserved communities. The companies plan to roll out the solutions to internet service providers and telecommunications companies in late 2019.

The partnership with Radwin is part of Microsoft's Airband Initiative, the company's effort to expand affordable broadband coverage in the rural U.S. and abroad. The Airband Initiative aims to address how broadband connectivity has become a necessity for businesses in a range of industries, thanks to the rise of digital technologies like cloud and video

In a July 2017 report, the Airband Initiative noted broadband is playing a growing role in healthcare delivery, as hospitals turn to telemedicine to address physician shortages in rural areas.

"Our partnership with Radwin … will help address the rural broadband gap for residents and businesses, enabling farmers, healthcare professionals, educators, business leaders and others to fully participate in the digital economy," Paul Garnett, senior director of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, said in Microsoft's July 2 statement.

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