Microsoft reaching out in effort to provide broadband to rural communities

Microsoft says it will team up with communities in six states, including Washington, in a program broadly aimed at fostering economic growth in rural and smaller metropolitan areas.

Company president Brad Smith launched the TechSpark program Thursday in Fargo, ND, which has a population of more than 200,000 and includes a Microsoft campus with about 1,500 employees.

In Grays Harbor and Pacific County, Microsoft says that 60-100% of residents have access to broadband, based on the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Progress Report 2016.

This is part of an effort by Microsoft to eliminate rural broadband gap within 5 years

Smith says the six communities are different by design and not all have a Microsoft presence. Northeast Wisconsin will be the next location launched, with communities in Washington and the other 3 states to be formally launched over the next few months.

Smith says TechSpark is a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment meant to help teach computer science to students, expand rural broadband and create and fill jobs.

The company has also selected Appleton, Wisconsin as one of the sites. The other communities will be announced later.



Microsoft TechSpark: A new civic program to foster economic opportunity for all Americans

Today we are announcing Microsoft TechSpark, a new national civic program to introduce digital initiatives designed to foster greater economic



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