Both Google and Microsoft have expressed an "extreme interest" in currently unused white space spectrum in the UK, according to The Telegraph. A senior government source speaking to the publication says that both companies see the spectrum as "very, very important." Right now, white space is allocated to broadcast services such as television and radio, but Ofcom has been looking to leverage the unused spectrum for rural broadband access. Although the details of Google and Microsoft’s interest aren’t clear, both could be mulling the idea of deploying free broadband access to their respective mobile platforms.
It’s not the first time Microsoft has expressed such an interest in the UK’s white space either. In June 2011, the company led a consortium of television companies to see if the spectrum could be used in Cambridge without disrupting broadcast services. Neul, the company providing the necessary network hardware, expanded the trial to the whole city earlier this year, checking to ensure that other wireless applications weren’t disrupted. Ofcom plans to open up the spectrum next year, but who will snatch it up remains to be seen.