Microsoft Joins Cambridge TV White Spaces Consortium

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Cambridge, England - Jun 27, 2011 - Representatives from some of the UK's largest technology and media companies announced today the formation of the Cambridge TV White Spaces Consortium. The group is undertaking technology trials to explore how the unused TV spectrum (white spaces) could provide a solution to satisfy the escalating wireless connectivity requirements of consumers and businesses in towns, cities and rural areas throughout the U.K. Experimental licenses have been granted by Ofcom (the U.K.'s equivalent to the FCC).

Members of the Consortium include Microsoft, the BBC, British Telecom, BSkyB, Nokia and Samsung, among others.

According to the Microsoft press release, the market for mobile bandwidth that serves phones, laptops, tablets and other smart devices is expected to increase 92 percent between 2011 and 2015. The consortium will test the new technologies under a variety of scenarios to assess how TV white spaces could be used to facilitate communications and information services; included will be the streaming high-quality video and audio content from the BBC and BSkyB over the TV white spaces spectrum to a range of mobile devices, including some from Nokia and Samsung. The TV white spaces hotspots will include local pubs, other leisure venues, and commercial and residential premises.

The consortium chose Cambridge for the trial because it has a long history in developing wireless communication technologies and offers an environment for testing diverse uses of the TV white spaces network. The city is distinguished by a dense mixture of buildings, including the historic stone buildings of its colleges, which offer a unique opportunity to demonstrate the penetration of TV white spaces signals when compared with other higher frequency networks such as Wi-fi.

It seems clear that the test results will have implications with respect to the proposed use of white spaces throughout the United States.

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