Updated Jul 24, 2018

Microsoft to deliver rural broadband via TV white spaces

An antenna setup for delivering Internet service to rural areas using TV white spaces. Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft is working with a small broadband provider to bring Internet service to portions of New York and Maine using so-called TV "white spaces."

Why it matters: After years about talking up the notion of bringing broadband to rural america via gaps in the TV airwaves, Microsoft has struck a commercial deal to do just that.

The deal: Microsoft is working with RTO Wireless to bring the Internet to 290,000 people in parts of New York and Maine. The effort uses what are known as TV "white spaces," slivers of unused spectrum in the range used by television broadcasters.

The big picture: Microsoft has said it wants to bring broadband access to 2 million people in rural America by July 2022. It previously reached commercial deals with Packerland Broadband in Wisconsin and Michigan and Declaration Networks in Virginia and Maryland.

Yes, but: The overall white spaces effort has drawn opposition from TV broadcasters and hospitals, concerned about potential wireless interference.

Go deeper

Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health