A private solution for rural broadband

There’s been a lot of talk lately about connecting rural communities across North Carolina to reliable, high speed internet service.  There are any number of benefits, including increasing access to education, economic opportunity, and telemedicine. But it’s also expensive to run broadband connections to rural areas where there just aren’t large concentrations of homes or businesses.

Lots of discussion has centered around government solutions to the problem, but Microsoft is the latest to suggest a different plan.  Microsoft excels at innovation, at figuring out creative ways to apply technology to create solutions.  And that’s what they’re doing here, suggesting a method for using unused airwaves between broadcast stations to provide high speed internet without costly cable.

I don’t understand how the technology would work, but this seems like it’s got a lot of potential.  Microsoft is offering to share the technology with other companies, so it doesn’t sound like they’re expecting to make a fortune from this.  I expect their solution will be affordable and reliable.  And all of it without any need for government involvement beyond lifting some regulations.  That’s a win for everyone.

Julie Tisdale / City and County Policy Analyst

Julie Tisdale is City and County Policy Analyst at the John Locke Foundation. Before coming to the Locke Foundation as the research publications coordinator, she worked at the...

Reader Comments

  • Bill Sellers

    My grandfather helped form the ATMC down in Shallotte (Brunswick Cty) at http://www.amtc.net, in the late 1950’s…and forced to scale back their ops by NC’s imperial General Assembly, having to selloff big operating chunks to AT&T, a decade or so back. Ditto others still resisting, like Wilson’s municipal broadband effort. Your slavish worship of the private sector for all things, has blinded JLF to the unique possibilities the municipal sector offers. Go ask Chattanooga (lived there) and their muni-BB system, along with the muni-electric system (a convenient customer for TVA electricity oversupply)…it got them the most advanced VW plant in the world, Amazon, and a host of others who came for the BB. And also, NO INCOME TAXES in Tennessee. It’s also coincidental, TN & SC are the only 2 “Old South” states granting full constitutional home-rule powers to their towns, cities, and counties, both selectively or en mass. JLF needs to ‘strike at the root’ of NC’s political & economic problems…its imperial NCGA, and its 17th century, micromanaging style of governance…which primarily benefits your never ending—gaping maw of NC lawyers’ mouths, craving to be fed. (don’t all those lawyers understand the coming power of uber-smart software?)