Microsoft to employ unused TV channels to offer rural broadband according to a TECH CRUNCH report
Every internet company these days has a plan for connecting people who don’t otherwise have reliable connectivity – Microsoft’s play will use unused TV broadcast channels, also called ‘white spaces,’ to get broadband internet to rural communities in the U.S.
The technology isn’t new – Microsoft and others have been trying to tackle the problem since at least 2008. Use of these white spaces has a couple of advantages over traditional means of delivering broadband, because it offers similar reliability when compared to Wi-Fi, but can reach much further with lower power requirements. Plus, white space tech offers better coverage than cellular since it isn’t as impeded by radio blocking impediments like concrete walls.
Microsoft still has some hurdles to climb, including getting buy-in from local regulators regarding their ability to make use of these unused channels. It also has to counter arguments from broadcasters that argue use of these channels will interfere with their TV signals.
Finally, it has to overcome a signficant cost hurdle – hardware for use with white space-based broadband is expensive, though Microsoft told the Times that it will be able to get pricing down for hardware it’ll demonstrate at an event today to below $200.