Microsoft, Google to test wireless device

Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and four other technology companies plan to submit a prototype of a new handheld device to U.S. regulators for testing, as they press the government to free up airwaves for wireless Internet access. Microsoft is developing the prototype, which the coalition will submit to the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering […]

Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and four other technology companies plan to submit a prototype of a new handheld device to U.S. regulators for testing, as they press the government to free up airwaves for wireless Internet access.

Microsoft is developing the prototype, which the coalition will submit to the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology, according to a Feb. 5 letter the companies filed with the FCC. The device would "provide consumer broadband access and networking," the filing said.

The commission is considering whether to let companies offer wireless Internet access on handheld devices that would use vacant television airwaves. A law enacted last year requires TV stations to convert to digital technology by February 2009, freeing up their old airwaves.

The FCC invited companies in December to submit prototypes for testing, to determine whether such devices would interfere with TV broadcasts. The Microsoft prototype is capable of sensing signals that broadcasters are using and would "move to a vacant channel or not transmit at all if one is not available," the coalition's filing said.

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