Some rural Ohioans will now have access to broadband internet access after a partnership between Agile Networks and Microsoft Corp. The agreement will bring internet access to nearly 110,000 currently unserved people and will greatly expand access in underserved rural areas. The partnership is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which is focused on closing the broadband gap by extending broadband access to 2 million unserved people in rural America by 2022.
This partnership leverages Agile’s robust network of telecommunications infrastructure throughout the state and cutting-edge technology, including TV white spaces, to provide more people living in rural Ohio with access to broadband internet over the next four years.
“People across the state, no matter where they choose to live, work and send their children to school, should have the same access to strong, reliable broadband service,” said Kyle Quillen, Agile Networks Founder and CEO. “This partnership will have an impact on more than 900,000 people across the state of Ohio, of whom 110,000 completely lack access to broadband. We’re excited to partner with Microsoft as part of this national initiative to ensure everyone has access to the information they need, when they need it.”
“In today’s digital economy, broadband access has become a necessity across industries including healthcare, agriculture, business and education,” said Shelley McKinley, Microsoft’s head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility. “Our partnership with Agile will help deliver broadband internet access to rural communities across Ohio so that they can take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s opportunities and the latest cloud technologies.”
Across Ohio, there are critical functions in need of reliable, high-speed connectivity, including medical clinics and rural hospitals, schools, oil and gas wells, agriculture operations, and households. By equipping its towers with innovative TV white spaces equipment, Agile’s efforts, in partnership with Microsoft, will enhance public safety interoperability across the state of Ohio, while providing competitive, affordable broadband access options to rural consumers and businesses, as well as turnkey solution sets tailored to fixed and mobile wireless carriers. As a result, this project will serve as a catalyst for economic development and rural broadband deployment in Ohio.
The Microsoft Airband Initiative is focused on bringing broadband coverage to rural Americans through commercial partnerships and investment in digital skills training for people in the newly connected communities. Proceeds from Airband connectivity projects will be reinvested into the program to expand broadband to more rural areas.