Microsoft seeks OK to do more tests of agricultural sensors over TV white space

Microsoft campus
Microsoft continues to evaluate TVWS at its campus in Redmond, Washington. (Microsoft)

Microsoft filed the requisite paperwork with the FCC to modify an existing license and continue using unlicensed TV white space (TVWS) spectrum to study its use for precision agricultural applications, like monitoring soil moisture levels over a wide area.

According to the application, Microsoft intends to continue to evaluate the suitability of white space spectrum for narrowband sensor operations and study the efficacy of such sensor systems for precision agriculture applications. It also plans to develop hardware and software for white space sensors.

Microsoft is asking for permission to conduct the tests at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, as well as in the small towns of Almira and Carnation in Washington state and in Essex, New York. Microsoft was granted a similar temporary license last year to conduct white space tests for agricultural apps, and earlier this year it was granted permission to conduct tests at its Redmond campus and at farms in Carnation and Essex.

RELATED: Microsoft: Building blocks falling into place for global TV White Space deployments

Microsoft has been working with industry and government partners around the world to demonstrate the viability and potential of dynamic spectrum and TV white spaces for several years. The company says the viability of the technology has been proven in more than a dozen trials and commercial deployments around the world, ranging from remote villages in Africa to dense urban centers in Asia.

Last year, the company provided the FCC with an update on the status of TVWS, saying a variety of public and private sector entities are involved in deployments. Microsoft partnered with network operators around the world to deploy TVWS networks in at least 20 countries. Many of the projects are commercial deployments combining different license-exempt and licensed wireless technologies in places ranging from dense urban environments to rural areas that lack electricity.