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Microsoft Explores Wi-Fi Network Options

A report in the Financial Times says that Microsoft is spearheading a consortium which will investigate whether UK radio spectrum not needed for transmitting digital TV can instead support a new generation of mobile broadband networks. According to the FT, these networks are likely to be badly needed if consumers are to make the most of internet-connected smartphones.

Microsoft is linking up with the BBC, BSkyB, BT, Nokia and Samsung for a trial in Cambridge which will look at whether the spectrum (dubbed white space spectrum) can be used to create super WiFi networks in towns and cities. Microsoft says existing WiFi hot spots have a typical range of about 100 metres, but the unused spectrum might enable a much greater range of 1-2km.

Media regulator Ofcom is also interested in the trial. It wants to see if using this spectrum for mobile networks will interfere with TV transmissions. Nokia and Samsung’s involvement is key, since they would need to  develop smartphones compatible with this spectrum.

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