Microsoft Explores Super WiFi Networks for Broadband in UK
What if streaming broadband television was sent out over WiFi networks using the existing signals that transmit digital TV? That's something that Microsoft is experimenting with - and it's using the UK as a proving grounds to see if wireless TV might just be "the next big thing". The experimental mobile broadband network exists in Redmond, but the experiments are centered around a UK trial in Cambridge. The trial uses a digital "white space" spectrum in the frequency range reserved for digital TV transmissions to provide mobile broadband to consumers. The idea is to have the testing observed by regulators and get permission to widen the scope to include other countries.
One would hope that the US would be on their short-list, but we're at the mercy of the FCC and deregulation of the airwaves which is a continuing sore spot, it seems, for those on both sides of the digital spectrum aisle.
The trial actually starts this week and the idea is to show that TV won't die a horrible death by using the white space spectrum for mobile broadband services. With the growing popularity of smart phones and tablet PCs and netbooks, including new devices like the iPad, one would assume that regulators would be more than willing to take a look at how to provide (taxable) services using existing frequencies.
The white space spectrum that is not used for the transmission of digital TV could be a significant source of airwaves for new mobile broadband networks. Companies like Microsoft are interested in using the existing "white space" afforded by digital TV because broadband space is hard to come by. Using what's already there and sneaking in a new set of sub-frequencies to piggy back on the existing channels is a dream come true for some. This space creates what is being referred to as "Super WiFi" networks.
Unfortunately, it's doubtful that these new Super wiFi networks will be rolled out as massive infrastructure systems across the nations they are utilized in. More than likely, they will remain localized to cities and counties due to the involved hardware and regulations.