Microsoft, Google And Others Join To Bring Internet To More Places

More Wi-Fi is rarely a bad thing -- scratch that, it's never a bad thing. And now, a consortium of higher education associations, public interest groups and high-tech companies are working to bring even more Internet to more places. The new partnership is called AIR.U (Advanced Internet Regions), which is being created to deploy Super Wi- Fi networks to upgrade the broadband available to underserved campuses and their surrounding communities. By using unlicensed access to unused television channels (TV band "white spaces"), universities and neighboring communities will be able to significantly expand the coverage and capacity of high-speed wireless connectivity both on and off campus.

Founding partners also include Microsoft, Google, the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation, a think tank based in Washington D.C., the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and Declaration Networks Group, LLC, a newly created organization established to plan, deploy and operate Super Wi-Fi technologies. AIR.U will focus on upgrading broadband offerings in those communities that, because of their educational mission, have greater than average demand but often, because of their rural or small town location, have below average broadband. The consortium's initial goal is to plan and deploy several pilot networks in diverse university communities and create a roadmap for the rapid deployment of sustainable, next generation wireless networks as White Space equipment becomes widely available in 2013.

Sure sounds like a great initiative to us, and hopefully, the folks gaining new Internet access will be agreeing soon.