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FCC Opens “White Space”

Posted by Matthew Greensmith at 9:00 AM on November 5, 2008

As we had hoped, the FCC has approved opening the “white space” that was being reserved in the TV broadcast spectrum for the last fifty years. It has been a four-year process, and has finally come to the conclusion it should have all along.

This, despite protests from every broadcast entity in the country. So much for big business having all the say. Under the FCC’s plan, white space spectrum will be unlicensed and free — like Wi-Fi — to anybody who wants to use it. In some markets, there’s enough white space to fill a half dozen TV channels.

They have put in place safeguards that should allay any broadcasting fears that currently exist. “Safe zones” where the white space cannot be used, like around entertainment venues or near broadcast points for traditional television broadcasters. Other entities can ask for safe zone treatment from the FCC.

The opening of this broadcast space bodes well for innovation. Right now, devices to use the space are not available, but I expect to see rapid development in this area. Now, if we can just keep big business’ hands off the space, we might get some cost-effective and use-effective growth in the area of wi-fi communications!