Microsoft is using Seattle Center — home of the iconic Space Needle — as a testbed for a super-fast WiFi network.
Announced today, the technology Microsoft is testing takes advantage of "TV white space" — frequencies that have typically been reserved as television broadcast space. From Microsoft:
The pilot program – part of Mayor Ed Murray's efforts to bring high-speed Internet access to city residents – uses "TV white space" technology, delivering broadband through unused television channels. The new system lets users browse at speeds more than 5,000 times faster than they could before.
Microsoft goes on to note that the technology also has the capacity to support up to 25,000 users at a time, which will be a huge boon to those seeking that precious connection to the internet during big events at Seattle Center. Additionally, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray notes that testing at Seattle Center may eventually lead to further deployments in other neighborhoods around the city.
Leveraging TV white space for internet connectivity is also part of a Microsoft initiative to bring the internet to those around the world who might not otherwise have access — something about which Microsoft goes into much more detail in the video below: