Sacred Wind Communications, Inc. and Microsoft Corp. announced a new agreement to bring broadband connectivity to rural New Mexico. As part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, Sacred Wind will use fixed wireless technologies, including TV white spaces (TVWS), the unused UHF and VHF spectrum, to deliver fast and reliable internet service to rural, under served communities in Northwest New Mexico that currently do not have access to basic broadband services.
Sacred Wind Communications will first deploy TVWS technology in the communities of Grants, Milan, San Rafael, Yatahey and areas located in the Church Rock Chapter during the first phase of this project, which is scheduled to begin in late summer 2019. Depending on the success of the first phase, Sacred Wind and Microsoft will expand TVWS deployment to several communities in the Navajo Chapters located within the Eastern Agency and Fort Defiance Agency beginning in 2020.
“The broadband gap is hindering tribal and rural communities from reaping the social and economic benefits that come with access to the internet,” said Shelley McKinley, General Manager of Technology and Corporate Responsibility at Microsoft. “Our partnership with Sacred Wind Communications will bring reliable, high speed internet to under served communities in New Mexico so that they can access the same opportunities as their urban counterparts. We applaud the continued efforts from local leaders to address this important issue across the state.”
Sacred Wind has a long history of using a cutting-edge mix of technologies to deploy fixed wireless access in rural areas in New Mexico. TVWS will supplement the radio equipment currently being utilized by Sacred Wind to reach communities that have traditionally been left out of advancements in broadband technology. TVWS signals have the advantage of being able to travel across long distances and can penetrate dense foliage, walls and other obstacles to provide internet coverage to rural communities that are currently unable to receive internet access.
John Badal, Sacred Wind’s CEO, stated: “We are always looking for new technologies to better serve our customers, particularly to fill in the gaps where our harder to reach customers live. The Microsoft Airband project is good news for rural America and our partnership with such a leader in technology is good news for New Mexico.”