Microsoft registers trademark for Airband TVWS initiative: report

Rural (Pixabay)
Microsoft wants to eliminate the rural broadband gap within the next five years—by July 4, 2022. (Pixabay)

Staying true to its mission, Microsoft continues to beat the drum for TV white spaces, the latest being its move to register a new trademark for a service related to the Airband technology that it unveiled last year.

According to MSPoweruser, the trademark pertains to two uses. One is for computer hardware, software and software applications to provide internet connectivity services to white space telecom channels, networks and databases. The other is for providing business information and consulting in the field of white space telecom and internet connectivity, promoting public interest and awareness of white space connectivity.

FierceWirelessTech reached out to Microsoft about the trademark and will update this story as more information becomes available.


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Although Microsoft has said it does not want to be in the telecom business, it launched a big initiative last year called the Rural Airband Initiative, with ambitions to close the broadband gap within five years. It said it would undertake 12 projects in 12 states in 12 months, including a partnership with the National 4-H Council to provide training and digital literacy skills to youth- and teen-led learning programs in rural areas.

The company has been advocating at the FCC to get three channels below 700 MHz designated for wireless use on an unlicensed basis in every market in the country, with additional TV white spaces available in smaller markets and rural areas. The FCC adopted rules in 2010 enabling use of TV white spaces, which are unused blocks of broadcast spectrum located between the frequencies assigned to television stations.

Microsoft already has a project with the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. (MBC) to deliver home broadband internet access to thousands of students in Southern Virginia at no cost to their families. Described as the largest Homework Network in the U.S., the program aimed to reach more than 3,000 students in 1,000 homes by the end of 2017.

In November, Microsoft was granted Special Temporary Authority (STA) by the FCC to use TV white space devices to help in the communication restoration efforts in areas of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. The STA lasts through May 7, 2018. Microsoft said at the time that TVWS was an ideal technology for connecting communities in Puerto Rico.

While Microsoft’s stated goal is not to enter the telecom business itself or even to profit directly from its projects, the company has said it will invest in the upfront capital projects needed to expand broadband coverage, seek a revenue share from operators to recoup its investment and then use these revenue proceeds to invest in additional projects to expand coverage. Microsoft also will license intellectual property for free and provide technical training.