Ohio-based Watch Communications is planning connectivity projects in Indiana and Illinois as part of Microsoft’s Airband initiative to expand broadband internet to rural areas of the country. The internet service provider says the projects will bring high-speed internet to thousands of households.
The two initial projects include the Henry County Rural Electric Municipal Cooperative in Indiana and the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative in Illinois.
“The need for reliable, high-speed Internet is so critical, especially now, as many Americans have shifted to working from home. Telehealth services are providing a crucial link to medical professionals, therapists, and counselors. Students need access to e-Learning platforms, and all of us are looking for more information in these challenging times. For those who live and work in rural areas, that’s a real challenge right now, and one that we’re committed to solving,” said Chris Daniels, chief executive officer of Watch Communications.
Watch says partnerships with rural electric cooperatives throughout the two states and in Ohio and Kentucky will aid the efforts.
The company says it will deploy a best-of-breed approach, selected from a variety of solutions depending on terrain and customer density. Watch says it will utilize fiber in some cases and will also pursue fixed wireless solutions on towers, cooperative-owned elevators, or community-owned water towers.