Connect Americans Now: New Coalition Aims to Eliminate the Digital Divide in Rural America

Rallying around a plan to eliminate the digital divide by 2022, a diverse group of community leaders, rural advocates and top innovators announced the national launch of Connect Americans Now. The new alliance will work with the Federal Communications Commission and other policymakers to ensure that there is sufficient unlicensed low band spectrum in every market in the country to enable broadband connectivity. CAN’s founding partners include Microsoft, ACT: The App Association, the National Rural Education Association, the Schools, Health and Library Broadband Coalition, the Wisconsin Economic Development Association, Alaska Communications, Axiom, the Mid-Atlantic Broadcasting Communities Corporation, the American Pain Relief Institute, HTS Ag, and others. As a part of the initial launch, CAN is forming partnerships across rural America to educate stakeholders about the opportunities available via long-range, wireless broadband over TV white spaces. They also are spearheading an advocacy campaign in Washington, D.C., where FCC regulators have the authority to make sufficient unlicensed spectrum available in each market for high-speed internet.

The plan endorsed by CAN will rapidly accelerate the deployment – and reduce the cost – of high-speed internet service for 23.4 million rural Americans who live each day without broadband access. It does so by taking advantage of unused but powerful bandwidth below the 700 MHz frequency range, also known as TV white spaces, made available on an unlicensed basis. Wireless signals in this range can travel over hills and through buildings and trees and therefore are great for last mile broadband access in rural areas.

New Coalition Aims to Eliminate the Digital Divide in Rural America Connect Americans Now Targets Low Band Spectrum for Rural Broadband Connectivity (telecompetitor)