Microsoft’s Rural Broadband Solution: TV ‘White Space’
“Microsoft already has doled out $250,000 to Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp., said Tad Deriso, chief executive of the southern Virginia telecom. With another $500,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and $250,000 of its own money, Mid-Atlantic Broadband plans to bring white-space service to 1,000 customers by year-end.
The service, which residents acquire through local schools, provides free internet access to a limited number of education-related sites at speeds of about 3 to 4 MB a second. Customers can access the entire web at the same speed for $10 a month, or pay $40 a month for service that hits 8 to 10 MB a second, though that falls below the FCC’s definition of “fast.”
About 90% of homes have opted for the free service, Mr. Deriso said.
The money from Microsoft and others is crucial because the cost of deploying the technology is about $1,000 a home, Mr. Deriso said. “Eventually, we’d like to see it be $100,” he said.”
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