FCC to Free TV White Space

In a victory for the Wireless Innovation Alliance, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin yesterday announced his support for free, unlicensed access by new “sense-and-avoid” wireless devices to “white” or unused spaces between digital-TV broadcast channels.

Unlicensed access to TV white space has the potential to create low-cost, high-speed, high-capacity, ubiquitous wireless access to the internet and other services by a wide range of new devices and technologies in direct competition with existing broadcast and broadband services. Lending credence to this potential is the heated opposition of the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology has successfully tested a number of proof-of-concept white space devices. See its TV White Space Phase II Test Report released yesterday. The FCC will take up the issue at its November 4th meeting.

For more coverage, see Ars Technica, C|Net and the New York Times (registration required).

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