School kids in rural Michigan who have less-than-adequate internet connections at home could get some homework done on the bus if Microsoft gets FCC approval for an experiment it wants to try.
The Washington Post reported on the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant’s desire to use empty TV airwaves to transmit internet signals to buses in Hillman, Mich., as the vehicles travel to and from school.
In the filing, Microsoft claims that “an estimated 70 percent of teachers assign homework that requires access to broadband, even as 5 million American students go home at the end of each school day to a household that lacks a high‐speed internet connection.”
Hillman is a community of about 700 people.
Because it wants to operate wireless equipment at a power level that could interfere with other communications, Microsoft needs government approval, the Post reported. The company hopes to install special radio antennas on buses that can communicate — over empty gaps or “white spaces” between TV channels — with broadband base stations that are placed along bus routes.
The Post said Microsoft has launched the experiments elsewhere, including Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Virginia and Washington state — “spanning a range of applications that covers farming and education.”