RADWIN and Microsoft to deliver TV White Space solutions

4 July, 2018

RADWIN will develop and introduce access solutions for TV White Space spectrum, needed to drive Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, which aims to expand broadband coverage in rural communities

RADWIN and Microsoft have entered into a strategic partnership aimed to address the rural broadband gap. RADWIN from Israel is an expert in sub-6GHz and mmWave fixed wireless access solutions. Following the agreement, it will develop and introduce access solutions for TV White Space spectrum, needed to deliver broadband internet to unserved communities. The partnership will expand the TV White Space ecosystem, making broadband more affordable and accessible for customers in the rural U.S. and around the world.

This partnership is part of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, which aims to expand broadband coverage. “The TV White Space radio ecosystem is rapidly growing,” said Paul Garnett, senior director of the Microsoft Airband Initiative. “Our partnership with RADWIN will help address the rural broadband gap.” Sharon Sher, RADWIN’s president and CEO, said that the addition of TV White Space solutions to RADWIN’s portfolio, “Would enable our service provider customers and partners to extend their footprint by connecting more remote subscribers in challenging deployment use cases, penetrating through terrain obstructions and vegetation.”

The TV Hidden Spectrum

Broadband is a vital part of 21st century infrastructure. Yet, only about half of the world’s population is connected to the internet. New cloud services and other technologies make broadband connectivity a necessity to starting and growing small businesses and taking advantage of advances in agriculture, telemedicine and education. According to findings by the Boston Consulting Group, a connectivity model that uses a combination of technologies, including TV White Space, can reduce the cost of extending broadband coverage in rural communities. TV White Space is an important part of the solution, creating broadband connections in UHF bands and enabling communication in challenging rural terrains and highly vegetated areas, all while protecting broadcasters and other licensees from harmful interference.

US Broadband Access by Country. Source: MicrosoftTV White Spaces spectrum is unused spectrum in the UHF television bands, that was created in the past to avoid interrupts between different channels. Thanks to the better spectrum utilization of digital broadcasting, they are no more needed. In 2010 the FCC adopted rules enabling the use of TV white spaces in the United States, opened the door to develop the building blocks needed for the use of this spectrum in an affordable way.

Microsoft itself has considerable experience with this spectrum, having deployed 20 TV white spaces projects in 17 countries that have served 185,000 users. Its Airband Initiative is aimed to fill this digital gap in the US. According to Microsoft, today 34 million Americans still lack broadband internet access, which is defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a 25 Mbps connection. Of these, 23.4 million live in rural parts of the country.

In July 2017, said Brad Smith, President of Microsot, that Microsoft’s Rural Airband Initiative will invest in partnerships with telecommunications companies with the goal of bringing broadband connectivity to 2 million people in rural America by 2022. “People who live in these rural communities increasingly are unable to take advantage of the economic and educational opportunities enjoyed by their urban neighbors. As a country, we should not settle for an outcome that leaves behind more than 23 million of our rural neighbors. We can and should bring the benefits of broadband coverage to every corner of the nation.”

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