Zayo Group (NYSE:ZAYO) has signed an agreement with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to bring connectivity to underserved, rural communities across the United States as part of Microsoft's Airband Initiative, which partners with Internet service providers (ISPs) working on broadband access solutions for rural unserved communities through a mix of technologies that includes TV white spaces (TVWS). As part of the agreement, Zayo will provide backbone fiber solutions via its existing network to ISPs to deliver high-speed Internet.
Zayo has fiber networks in every major market in the United States, which includes tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 cities. In addition, Zayo's long haul networks connect multiple markets, traversing rural areas in more than 30 states, either in place or under construction.
Through collaborations with ISPs and other companies and organizations, the Microsoft Airband Initiative aims to extend broadband access to at least 3 million people in unserved portions of rural America by July 2022.
"When underserved areas gain access to high-speed Internet, everyone benefits," said Brian Daniels, senior vice president of Strategic Networks at Zayo. "Broadband provides access to educational, employment and healthcare resources at the family level as well as facilitating economic development in the communities in which they live. Combining our large mobile infrastructure builds and our ever-expanding K-12 education networks provides Zayo an unparalleled platform to support the Airband Initiative. We look forward to working together with Microsoft - and with rural service providers - on this innovative initiative to close the digital divide."