Microsoft to begin Cambridge trial of white-space broadband

Microsoft, the BBC, British Telecom and Nokia are planning to test out brand new “Wi-Fi on steroids” technology called “White-space broadband”. According to the companies involved, the experiment is set to take place in Cambridge, UK and will be a part of the Cambridge TV White Spaces Consortium.

According to ZDnet, the consortium includes a number of other large technology and media based companies including, BSkyB, Siemens, Samsung, Spectrum Bridge and many more.

In simple terms, white-space is unused parts of the ultra high-frequency TV spectrum. This spectrum is becoming available for use thanks to the switch from analog TV to digital. ZDnet go on to say that there is likely to be around 150MHz of unused spectrum around the UK, which is a large amount considering that mobile operators usually only have 30MHz to make use of.

The consortium issued a statement that said "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,"

The group also said “The 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 official Microsoft blog states that UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has granted the consortium a multi-site license that will let the project being as of today. Cambridge was chosen for the trial thanks to its long history in developing wireless communication technology and thanks to the large range of buildings in the area.

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