FCC Chair Backs White Space Usage Plans

By  |  Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 9:55 am

Those who have been looking to use so-called “white space” for national broadband wireless Internet got a huge boost Wednesday. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has thrown his support behind those plans in a report issued by the commission. Better yet, he plans to bring the issue up for vote at the next meeting on November 4.

For those who need a quick primer on what white space is, here goes. The term refers to unused portions of spectrum between assigned blocks, in this case referring to the frequencies between television channels. A group calling itself the White Spaces Coalition — made up of companies including Microsoft, Google and others — has been lobbying the FCC to open it up for use for a high speed wireless Internet network.

These frequencies would be open to anyone, thus allowing companies to freely develop products to send data over long distances: the companies say these frequencies are perfect for that.

Naturally, the telecom industry says this is a threat. Lobbyists there argue that the technology would cause TV interference. It seems as if the FCC disagrees. While its tests did seem to indicate there would be some interference issues, apparently it was not enough to cause it to block the White Space Coalition’s efforts.

Further tests are apparently underway to ensure interference is minimized.

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