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Microsoft Airband: An update on connecting rural America


On-demand: Microsoft President Brad Smith provides an update on the Microsoft Airband Initiative.

The rural broadband divide: An urgent national problem that we can solve

Every day the world is becoming more digital. Cloud computing combined with new productivity, communication and intelligent tools and services enable us to do more, do it more quickly and in ways that were simply unimaginable a generation ago. But participating in this new era requires a high-speed broadband connection to the internet. While it’s a service that is as critical as a phone or electricity, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband is unavailable to roughly 25 million Americans, more than 19 million of which live in rural communities. That’s roughly the population of New York state. 

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United States broadband availability and usage analysis

These Power BI views illustrate broadband availability (based on the FCC’s data¹) compared with broadband usage (based on Microsoft’s data²) across the United States. The visualizations can be filtered at the state, county, and/or congressional district levels.

¹ FCC broadband report 2019 located here

² Internal data from November 2019 using the FCC’s broadband download speed benchmark of 25Mbps

From the 2017 Archives

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2017 Webcast

Watch Microsoft President Brad Smith’s 2017 speech at the Media Institute.