Both the Seattle PI and the Seattle Times have details about a group of technology companies – including Microsoft and Google — seeking permission from the US Federal Communications Commission to test a prototype device that uses "white space" radio spectrum freed up as TV stations go digital. Could it potentially be a way for these companies to offer mobile services without having to work with mobile carriers?
Microsoft is apparently building a prototype device to sense and make use of open radio spectrum. Google, along with Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Philips are part of the group asking the FCC to let the device be tested.
The companies have filed a letter with the FCC, which I’ve been unable to locate through the FCC site itself. If anyone finds a link, please add it to the comments. The Seattle PI story says that the FCC’s Office Of Engineering & Technology asked for companies to submit prototypes for testing back in December. You’ll find a bit more info from the FCC about that here (or here in PDF format)
Earlier this month, we reported on news that UK mobile providers have been looking to perhaps band together and lock out search companies. Over the past year, there have also been various reports of mobile providers concerned that content from people like Google or Microsoft burdens their systems without giving them revenue. It makes it easy to think that Microsoft and Google in particular might welcome a nice slice of radio waves to use for their own wireless devices.