The group, which includes the BBC, British Sky Broadcasting, and telecommunications giant BT, hopes to tap "white spaces" to create "super Wi-Fi" networks to sate bandwidth-hungry smartphones, according to the report.
"Spectrum is a finite natural resource. We can't make more and we must use it efficiently and wisely," Dan Reed, Microsoft's vice president of technology policy and strategy, told the newspaper. "The TV white spaces offer tremendous potential to extend the benefits of wireless connectivity to many more people, in more locations, through the creation of super Wi-Fi networks."
The 300MHz to 400MHz of unused "white space" spectrum is considered prime spectrum for offering wireless broadband services because it can travel long distances and penetrate through walls. The Federal Communications Commission unanimously agreed in November 2008 to open up this spectrum for unlicensed use.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and others have compared the white-space market to Wi-Fi--a $4 billion-a-year industry that also does not require a spectrum license. Last year, Microsoft commissioned research that suggests white-space applications may generate $3.9 billion to $7.3 billion in economic value each year.