vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
EPIC HEXUS COMPETITIONS OVER £8,000 worth of gear to be won! [x]
facebook rss twitter

Google and Microsoft to supply free Wi-Fi in UK white space?

by Mark Tyson on 5 November 2012, 10:30

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabop5

Add to My Vault: x

A report in the Sunday Telegraph this weekend revealed that both Google and Microsoft are very interested in utilising UK white space spectrum to provide free Wi-Fi services. The newspaper sites “senior government sources” indicating that the two US tech giants have “extreme interest” in the unused spectrum. It is speculated that either company could build-in free, automatic Wi-Fi access around the UK into their smartphone platform; that’s a pretty good USP.

White space spectrum is the unused gaps in between TV stations that are left there to prevent interference. There is a lot of white space in the UK particularly due to regional TV stations; neighbouring regional TV channels will use different frequencies to avoid clashing at the borders of reception. Basically, for instance, the Granada TV spectrum will be white space in the Yorkshire TV region. Wi-Fi services using these frequencies will apparently have a much better range and penetration than your home Wi-Fi equipment.

Ofcom wants to develop this spectrum with new technology next year, says the Telegraph. The white space Wi-Fi technology could be a great USP for a tech company who wants to push their particular mobile platform.  The Telegraph says that both Microsoft and Google have launched “a major charm offensive” to try and get their hands on the white space. A government source speaking to the newspaper said “They clearly see it as very, very important. They have shown extreme interest in this as a way of getting closer to customers and offering something different to Apple.” Perhaps this would be more useful to customers than the 4G services and plans currently offered by EE!

An analyst speaking to the Telegraph thought that while the white space Wi-Fi services would be free for either platform’s customers it may be accessible to other users to sign in and use. “There'll be some trade-off, for example giving them all your details, but people have been expecting a move like this from Google for some time,” said Shaun Collins at CCS Insight.

It will be interesting to see the range, speed and how widespread the white space Wi-Fi availability is when it becomes available. Some people even think it could be the magic bullet for the rural broadband problem.



HEXUS Forums :: 16 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Yes please!

Being a fairly loyal Google user the prospects of free mobile Wifi are pretty good IMO.
Hmmm. Again - for Microsoft to release a 'Surface' iPod touch variant (no phone connection, WiFi only), then push it as a Skype handset...
Biscuit
Yes please!

Being a fairly loyal Google user the prospects of free mobile Wifi are pretty good IMO.


Presumably the mobile networks will want to kill this stone dead, it would slash their income if nobody needed data. The fixed line company providing backhaul would be very happy though I'm sure!

Only one way to resolve it... fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!
kingpotnoodle
Presumably the mobile networks will want to kill this stone dead, it would slash their income if nobody needed data. The fixed line company providing backhaul would be very happy though I'm sure!

Only one way to resolve it... fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!

I would have thought the broadband suppliers will have something to say about it aswell. Given that a lot of users simply use the net for checking facebook, they would have no need for any fixed line broadband with this.

It would certainly shake things up in the UK mobile broadband market as with the strict limits and high prices, its been stagnant for a while. I have a bit of hope that when the competition for 4G heats up, 3G will drop and become more reasonable.
I would happily get a mobile broadband sim and a different tablet to support it if could get a sensible 'pay as you go' package. Gaff Gaff do something decent, still not quite there IMO.

Currently i can tether for free from my phone and the FUP only applies to downloads and streaming so im in no rush to find anything till the suppliers catch up to peoples requirements and the demands of modern technology.
If past history in the US is anything to go by, there will be heavy opposition from the mobile networks and broadcasters.

However, it'd certainly be great to have another option for wireless data, and it's taken a while to reach this point where they are talking about it. Although I would like to see other companies offer this too (British or even European), someone other than Google and Microsoft (though I do like Google's services), as the future is looking increasingly monolithic!