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Partnership helps to expand broadband service in Illinois, Iowa, and South Dakota

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There are more than 19 million people living in rural America who lack access to a broadband internet connections, including about 22 percent of people in rural Iowa, 36 percent of people in rural Illinois, and 25 percent of people in rural South Dakota. A partnership between Microsoft and  an Illinois-based wireless internet provider hope to cut into those numbers at least a little.

On Thursday, the agreement with the Microsoft Airband Initiative and Network Business Systems to deliver broadband internet access to about 126,700 people in those three states was announced.

On Thursday, Network Business Systems Inc., an Illinois-based wireless internet provider, and Microsoft Corp. announced a new agreement to deliver broadband internet access to rural communities in Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota, including approximately 126,700 people who are currently unserved. Network Business Systems will construct and deploy wireless internet access networks using a mix of technologies including TV white spaces — vacant spectrum that can travel over long distances and rough terrain, including the heavy foliage that is common in the Midwestern landscape. But it will take time, and the projected completion date is July 4, 2022.

For this era’s growing digital economy, enabling people and small businesses to take advantage of advancements in technology, including education, healthcare and precision agriculture can’t come quickly enough.

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