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Microsoft-Led Consortium Starts Testing 'Super Wi-FI'

On Wednesday a Microsoft-led consortium will begin testing unused terrestrial television spectrum to investigate if it could be used to support new age smartphones.

According to The Financial Times (opens in new tab) the companies hope to tap unused radio spectrum, also called white spaces, to power the wireless network for future generations of smartphones. Microsoft is already testing the same technology in its Redmond, Washington campus.

"Spectrum is a finite natural resource. We can't make more and we must use it efficiently and wisely. TV white spaces offer tremendous potential to extend the benefits of wireless connectivity through the creation of super Wi-Fi networks," vice president of technology policy and strategy at Microsoft, Dan Reed told the Financial Times.

According to Microsoft, existing Wi-FI does not have a range of more than 100 meters, but if the consortium is able to tap the unused spectrum, the new technology would be ‘super Wi-FI’ with a range of 1 to 2 kilometers.

The consortium is also comprised of the BBC, British Sky Broadcasting, Internet and telephone service provider BT, Finnish mobile manufacturer Nokia and Korean mobile company Samsung. They are expected to begin testing in Cambridge soon.