Microsoft is poised to deploy white space broadband in rural parts of India. The technology uses the spectrum in between television channels to broadcast internet access signals as far as 10 kilometers between access points.
The big U.S. tech companies’ quest to connect more people in developing countries is stepping up, with Facebook now joining Microsoft in a West African white space broadband project.
The British telco is playing around with a pioneering platform that’s designed to be the connectivity glue for smart cities.
Google(s goog) has declared a white space broadband trial in Cape Town, in which it participated, a resounding success. The firm said on Friday that the 6-month trial, which involved running wireless broadband in the fragmented buffer zones between chunks of TV spectrum, did not interfere with the complex TV broadcast set-up in the city. I went to see the pilot in June and am delighted to learn that the network will stay operational for the schools that have been using it, even though the trial is over. Similar experiments are taking place around the world.
As we reported earlier this year, the UK is planning extensive trials of so-called white space connectivity – using the spectral buffer zones between TV channels in order to carry broadband and machine-to-machine communications. The regulator Ofcom has now named the 6-month trial’s participants, which range from Google(s goog) and Microsoft(s msft) to BT(s bt), white space radio pioneer Neul and .uk domain name registry Nominet.
Google is involved in a groundbreaking trial of “white space” technology, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. Just a few months in, it’s already making a real difference for local schools.
The UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced an industry pilot of the long-range broadband and M2M technology later this year, in order to make sure everything works properly ahead of a likely national deployment next year.
Microsoft is testing white space technology in Kenya, and now Google is doing the same in South Africa. The company’s involvement extends to sponsorship and the use of its newly-launched spectrum database.
The mobile industry is abuzz this morning in response to yesterday’s piece from the New York Times that the FCC is likely to approve an expansion of unlicensed airwaves that could be used to access the web from both computers and mobile gadgets. As the Washington Post noted, the looming release of “white spaces” has tech startups speculating about a boom of innovation in mobile. But the flip side of that boom, as Opus Research’s Greg Sterling wrote, is that white spaces could give carriers “a black eye” thanks to more competitive pricing and more devices that may not be sold with a separate access subscription. If the FCC truly wants to bring more competition to wireless — and there’s little doubt that it does — white spaces would be a huge step.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is poised to take action on “white spaces” by appeasing TV broadcasters interference concerns. Given successful trials, the final hurdle for widespread use of this unlicensed spectrum may be cleared, birthing a entirely new wireless industry and long-range wireless hotspots.