Microsoft and Google authorized to explore White Space radios in UK

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Slashgear reports that UK wireless regular Ofcom has authorized what it calls the largest exploration of “white space” frequencies the world has ever seen by the likes of Microsoft, Google, Spectrum Bridge, and upwards of 17 other private and public organizations over the next six months.

White Space are the frequency bands in between TV channels, which has been expanded recently with the demise of analogue TV in favour of Digital TV channels.

The companies are looking to use this precious spectrum to investigate delivering rural broadband , HDTV broadcasting, automobile traffic management, early flood assessments, utility monitoring, and the “Internet of things”.

The goal it to achieve this without interfering with neighbouring TV channels.  Microsoft has been an early proponent of the technology, but their early implementation did cause some TV interference.  In this experiment they will be concentrating on providing rural broadband and and setting up a network of sensors for detecting atmospheric conditions and feed them to a live map.

Interestingly Nokia has also recently demonstrated LTE that uses “white space” spectrum and a database of alternate uses in the region, and then intelligently hops out of the way to prevent interference, thereby increasing spectrum utilization by a significant 18% without any infrastructure outlay.

Eventual wide implementation of these ideas is still years away, and will depend heavily on the outcome of these trials, but it is interesting to note as a soon to be smartphone OEM Microsoft will have an advantage in building hardware and software that takes advantage of this new spectrum.

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