A group of large companies, including Microsoft, Nokia and the BBC, have teamed up to test the possibility of harnessing unused television spectrum to provide new broadband technology.

“White space” networks take advantage of unused TV signals spectrum to send internet data. The technology is similar to wireless, but is better suited for rural areas as TV spectrum signals travel farther and are better at penetrating walls than WiFi.

The companies have got together to create the Cambridge TV White Spaces Consortium. The group will then conduct the test, aiming to show that the technology should be used to increase the UK’s struggling infrastructure:

“With the number of connected devices and data applications growing rapidly, and with mobile networks feeling the strain, we must find ways of satisfying the traffic demands of today and tomorrow,

“This trial will attempt to demonstrate that unused TV spectrum is well-placed to increase the UK’s available mobile bandwidth, which is critical to effectively responding to the exponential growth in data-intensive services, while also enabling future innovation.”

The test will create “white space” hot spots around Cambridge, including local pubs, leisure venues, commercial premises and even some individual homes.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Technology Policy, Dan Reed, said it will also dramatically increase the availability and quality of business broadband supplied to SMEs in rural areas, “with coverage areas measured in kilometers instead of meters”

This will mean rural businesses could finally experience usable internet speeds and take advantage of flexible, cost-effective VoIP telephony solutions, without having to wait for fibre optic broadband to become available.

(Image by Alpha)


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