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Big news coming from the #FCC today? #whitespaces

EDIT: AWESOME! Looks like the FCC is opening it up!!!!! This is huge! I’m just looking for a better source if you have one please drop it in the comments!

More coming in!

“The FCC vote marks the first “significant” release of unlicensed wireless spectrum in 25 years, Genachowski said. The last major FCC action on unlicensed spectrum, opening up so-called “junk” spectrum in 1985, led to the development of Wi-Fi, he noted.”


The Federal Communications Commission is expected today to approve final rules for what’s known as white-space broadband. It’s a new kind of high-speed wireless service that will travel on broadcast spectrum that isn’t being fully used for other services such as TV signals.

What’s the idea? To redeploy spectrum formerly used by TV stations and others aren’t to expand access to broadband services—wirelessly and with a far greater range than today’s highly localized WiFi networks.

By doing so, the FCC hopes the technology may help fulfill its goal of universal access to broadband services, by providing a lower-cost means than wired networks to reaching underserved areas, such as low-income neighborhoods and rural areas. There’s also hope, as FCC chairman Julius Genachowski recently put it, that the technology will become a “platform for innovators and entrepreneurs” to launch new services.

Where does the spectrum come from? White space got a huge boost with the switch entirely to all-digital TV broadcasting, which freed up spectrum that had been used for parallel analog broadcasts.

How will it work? Not yet clear, but the details are getting there. We do know that the FCC plans to make the spectrum available for “unlicensed use,” meaning that individuals or companies can use the spectrum for free, to facilitate its use and encourage innovation. What we don’t know yet is whether any or all of the resulting services will be free to consumers.

Anyone not like the idea? Yes, just about everyone who uses the affected spectrum now, and will be forced to share it. TV broadcasters, in particular, are concerned that the new services will interfere with reception of their signals.

How soon might white space get going? Aside from continuing pilot projects, which so far have mostly been on corporate campuses and the like, the soonest white-space-based projects are expected is the end of next year. And even that timing should be taken with a grain of (white) salt.

I’m HOPING that this is going to be good news for the internet consumers of the USA – it’s about time something good happened for them and this could lead to some real wireless innovation!

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