Microsoft to test TV “white space” for mobile

A group led by Microsoft is to carry out tests in Britain this week to investigate how unused TV spectrum could be used for new wireless broadband networks.

The group, which includes the BBC, Sky, and BT, hopes to exploit  “white spaces” to create “super Wi-Fi” networks to cope with mobile TV and other smart phone services.

“Spectrum is a finite natural resource. We can’t make more and we must use it efficiently and wisely,” Dan Reed, Microsoft’s vice president of technology policy and strategy, told the FT. “The TV white spaces offer tremendous potential to extend the benefits of wireless connectivity to many more people, in more locations, through the creation of super Wi-Fi networks.”

The 300MHz to 400MHz of unused “white space” spectrum is considered prime spectrum for offering wireless broadband services because it can travel long distances and penetrate obstructions. The FCC in the US agreed in November 2008 to open up this spectrum for unlicensed use.

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