David Kirkpatrick

October 16, 2008

Selling the “white space” for broadband — pro and con

On the pro side of the argument is the Federal government. Here’s a Technology Review article on the subject.

From the link:

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday proposed opening up unused portions of the television airwaves known as “white spaces” to deliver wireless broadband service.

The proposal by FCC chief Kevin Martin appeals to public interest groups and many of the nation’s biggest technology companies, including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which hope it will bring affordable high-speed Internet connections to more Americans.

“No one should ever underestimate the potential that new technologies and innovations may bring to society,” Martin said in a statement.

That article contains a few contrarian views, such as these two:

His plan could run into opposition from the nation’s big television broadcasters, which have argued that the use of the fallow spectrum to deliver wireless Internet services could disrupt their over-the-air signals. The National Association of Broadcasters had no immediate comment.

Shure Inc., a manufacturer of wireless microphones, has also raised concerns about interference with audio systems at concerts and sporting events.

For even more detail on the con side of this issue, check out this New America Foundation paper. This link goes to the summary with a link to the full report in PDF format at the bottom of the page.