November 05 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets Year: 2011 Rating: 2
On the eve of the election, the FCC approved the use of the wireless spectrum left void by the national switch to digital television (commonly referred to as “white space”) for tech company use.
“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today adopted a Second Report and Order (Second R&O) that establishes rules to allow new, sophisticated wireless devices to operate in broadcast television spectrum on a secondary basis at locations where that spectrum is open. (This unused TV spectrum is now commonly referred to as television “white spaces”). The rules adopted today will allow for the use of these new and innovative types of unlicensed devices in the unused spectrum to provide broadband data and other services for consumers and businesses.” – FCC Website
Google, a long proponent of developing the strong white space spectrum for wireless internet, is ecstatic. Having lead the fight to free up the white space spectrum with other partners such as Dell, Microsoft and HP, Google must be feeling like they’re on top of the world.
Larry Page, Google co-founder and investor in Tesla Motors, couldn’t restrain himself from a little celebration dance on his blog. “We will soon have “Wi-Fi on steroids,” since these spectrum signals have much longer range than today’s Wi-Fi technology and broadband access can be spread using fewer base stations resulting in better coverage at lower cost.” He believes that freeing up the spectrum will create millions of jobs in manufacturing and also on the internet. Wi-Fi itself he says “has resulted in a projected 1 billion Wi-Fi chips being produced this year.” Isolated rural communities may soon see blazing fast internet in their homes.
Even though this is a monumental breakthrough, don’t expect to see the effects of this approval start to show up for another year or so. The cost of building the infrastructure to create powerful wireless signals and spread them all over the country is going to be massive. Not to mention that any technology associated with white space is going to face close scrutiny from the FCC because of their fear the use of the spectrum might screw with neighboring signals. One thing is for sure — development of the white space spectrum could not only change how we communicate with each other, but also boost the US back into internet dominance.