ND participates in Rural America High-Speed Internet Pilot Program

Published: Jan. 13, 2018 at 12:10 PM CST
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North Dakota is one of 12 states taking a part of a pilot program with Microsoft to bring high-speed Internet to rural America.

They've tested this technology in Africa and in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria.

Higher speed Internet could be coming to rural America. This would help farmers in the state.

"With farms being able to you know be connected to the world and understand what's going on. Also being able to utilize precision ag technology that is just booming, and so it's really critically important to the farmers," said Microsoft TechSpark North Dakota Manager Taya Spelhaug.

How will this work? Well, according to Spelhaug they're using TV white space, which is the unused broadcast channels between active channels to deliver internet service.

"There are already two channels set aside by the FCC and what we're asking for are for those two channels to be left there, unlicensed for public use and for an additional channel to be set aside by the FCC," said Connect Americans Now outreach Director Jon Conradi.

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., says the state has an opportunity to play a leadership role in the rest of the country.

"We still have about 10-percent of North Dakota that is not as connected as it ought to be. To be as competitive as it needs to be economically across the country," said Cramer.

Conradi says the objective is to make it cost $100 to customers initially.

Microsoft representatives say things will be moving along in the next six months.

They're excited to see what this can do for North Dakota and rural America.