If the venture fails, the device can be used as a prop in sci-fi 'B' movies. (Click to enlarge. Pic from Ars Technica.)
Or at least wireless Internet over the TV waves. Microsoft is working on a technology called WhiteFi that will use the airwaves once set aside for TV to instead broadcast long-range wireless Internet signals. The airwaves are of the ultra-high frequency, or UHF variety, evoking the comic stylings of Weird Al. (Apparently, the wifi networks we use at present are also UHF, thus providing a daily reason to remember pre-racial slur Michael Richards playing a Bonanza-theme-song-singing dunce.)
The signals could be broadcast much further than current wireless signals, raising the possibility, say the developers, of providing connectivity to the rural poor. One hang-up for the project: the signal has to avoid frequencies already being used by microphones at places like megachurches and recording studios, so the technology has to be able to scan for an available signal and switch quickly, so the signal doesn't drop.
The venture is being characterized as "WiFi on steroids," leading to the question of how it will be hyped by the hype-man-on-steroids (or at least on some kind of high-grade meth): Steve Ballmer. Methinks he's gonna love this company even more.