Use analogue TV frequencies for ‘super Wi-Fi’, say scientists

Outdated analogue TV frequencies should be used to create new space for “super Wi-Fi” that would boost the world’s economy and take the strain off overloaded mobile networks even though worries persist over how workable they are.

Scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology [KIT] are calling for governments to hand over the unused frequencies so that a widespread free Wi-Fi network can be created.

“Implementation of our approach would have far-reaching consequences. Individuals, institutions and companies would be far less dependent on expensive mobile communications networks in conducting their digital communication. This would also be of great economic benefit,” said Arnd Weber from KIT, according to Factor.

Using the repurposed TV frequencies would allow Wi-Fi cover a much wider area due to the fact they operate over lower frequencies and it opens up the chance for hard to reach areas to be connected.

KIT’s plans haven’t gone down well with everyone, Nobel Prize winning economist Ronald Coarse arguing that governments should still auction off the frequencies so their use is as effective as possible. The governments involved would then use the proceeds from the sales to fund other projects.

The argument from KIT’s side of the fence is that selling the frequencies off to the highest bidder isn’t the best plan and the long-term economic benefits wouldn’t be realised were this the case.

Coarse’s differing of opinion isn’t the only one, others stating that lower frequency networks will become extremely congested and thus be rendered useless as a result. KIT scientists think that the right technology would avoid this being the case and testing would prove whether this would be case.

Weber and Jens Elsner, his colleague at KIT, will present their case at the UN-initiated World Radio communication conference next year to argue their approach is the best in the hope that governments sit up and take notice.

Image Credit: Flickr (Ming Xia)