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If at first you don't succeed, you're Microsoft pushing its magical white space broadband

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Frank Wilkerson
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On Tuesday, Microsoft's president Brad Smith also took us back in time: to a period when Microsoft decided that the answer to rural internet access in the US was to use the "white space" in between TV channels for data transfer.

It had developed a device that it sent to America's comms watchdog, the FCC, to blow apart the myth that any attempt to use this space would cause interference with TV broadcasts and radio mics.

Microsoft's coalition was hit with determined opposition from America's four largest television networks, which joined local TV stations and even Dolly Parton in opposing the idea.

But undeterred, Microsoft pushed forward, raving about what could be "Wi‑Fi on steroids" – even though the Wi‑Fi Alliance warned that the technology was nothing like Wi‑Fi and it would sue Microsoft if it attempted to use the brand name.

New trials meant that no one in rural areas would have to go without broadband ever again.

It had taken a long while and a lot of work, but finally "White‑Fi" was a go.

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Frank Wilkerson
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