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FCC Approves White Space Devices: The Dawn of the Age of Opportunistic Spectrum Reuse

Yesterday will go down in history as a bellwether moment. Few among us will soon forget the excitement of Obama's election. But there was an equally historic vote yesterday that for geeks, policy analysts, and technologists represents an entirely new trajectory in telecommunications. In essence, the FCC has begun the transition from command-and-control, single-user spectrum licensure to a more distributed system that holds the potential to eliminate the artificial scarcity that prevented widespread access to the public airwaves since 1927. more

FCC Approves White Space for Broadband in Unanimous Vote

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today approved, in a 5-0 unanimous vote, the plan to open up unused, unlicensed portions of TV white space spectrum for wireless applications and devices. However, to prevent interference, FCC has also placed some "rigorous certification process" which device offered by a technology company for use on the white spaces will have to go through. more

FCC Vote Results: We the People Won

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just voted to open up the so called TV Whitespaces for UNLICENSED use. This is incredibly good news for rural America in particular but actually for all of America. It's not as important as the election the rest of us in the US voted in today -- but this action is a very, very big deal. Just a few of the benefits... more

The Real White Spaces Debate: To Create or Abolish a Market in the Airwaves

I've been following the "white spaces" for as long as it has been happening -- four, maybe five years -- and I must admit that I am surprised by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's sudden fondness for them. Until the last days of his chairmanship, Martin never cared for this somewhat radical notion: allowing techies and community activists to spew electromagnetic frequencies in zones currently occupied (at least ostensibly) by the broadcasters. more

The Trouble with White Spaces

Like several other engineers, I'm disturbed by the white spaces debate because it focuses on what I regard as the wrong question. The White Space Coalition argues that showing that a system can be constructed that prevents interference between White Space Devices and television broadcast signals compels the Commission to offer up the White Spaces for unlicensed use. This is far from obvious. more

The Other Vote on November 4th

The vote that Federal Communications Commissioners are planning for November 4 is not as important as the voting we'll do on that day, but it does matter a lot to the future of the United States. Unless the forces opposed to progress manage to postpone FCC action (which they are trying very hard to do), the FCC could decide to set the stage for another generation of innovative products with which the US will strengthen its competitive position in global markets... more

White Spaces: Timing

Last week's emergency petition by the broadcasters to delay the FCC's Nov. 4 vote is just part of the white spaces atmosphere right now. Ars Technica reports that the mud is really flying -- the broadcasters are accusing proponents of white space use of wanting to kill off television. It's a familiar argument -- "If you do Y, broadcast television as we know it will be destroyed." more

White Spaces: The NAB vs. Reality

One of Washington's most powerful corporate lobbies is at it again. Raising a dust cloud of lies in a last-ditch effort to stop new technology that could better the lives of millions. For more than five years, now, the television broadcast lobby has tried to deny the American public access to white spaces -- unused airwaves that sit vacant between TV channels. Technology now exists that would tap the near limitless potential of these airwaves and deliver high-speed Internet services to tens of millions of people now left on the wrong side of the digital divide. more

Beyond White Spaces

Back in 1999 I wrote a column that envisioned the uses of digital wireless in the home. I compared two nascent, much-touted wireless protocols, Bluetooth and HomeRF. I completely, totally, slippery-dash missed Wi-Fi. There had been a public 802.11 spec since 1997. The first 802.11b devices, which made Wi-Fi popular, burst onto the scene in early 2000, just a few short months after my clueless insights. Today HomeRF is forgotten, Bluetooth is for ugly ear jewelry and Wi-Fi rulz... more

White Spaces News… Interesting First Step

When the U.S. Digital Television Transition (DTV) transition happens in Feb. 2009, channels 2 through 51 will remain allocated for television transmission. Few of the nation's television markets actually use 49 channels. Indeed, most use less than half of that number... Today, with Congress in recess, leaving less room for last-minute-Lucy-with-the-football lobbying gambits, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appears to be poised to release a report saying the white spaces can be used without necessarily causing interference to existing broadcasts. There are still many questions to be answered... more

Google, T-Mobile Launch Android-Powered G1 Mobile Phone

Google Inc. and T-Mobile USA today unveiled the highly anticipated smart-phone G1, the first in the industry to be based on Android, Google's operating system for mobile phones. Currently available for T-Mobile customers only, the T-Mobile G1 combines full touch-screen functionality and a QWERTY keyboard with a mobile Web experience that includes popular Google services such as Google Maps Street View, Gmail, YouTube and others. The T-Mobile G1 is also the first phone to provide access to Android Market, where customers can find and download unique applications to expand and personalize their phone to fit their lifestyle. more

Scientists in Italy Set Wireless Network Speed Record

A team of Scientists in Pisa, Italy are reported to have set a new world record in wireless data transmission speed. Italian researchers from Sant'Anna University along with the Japanese Waseda University and the National Institute of Information and communication technology in Tokyo, for the "first time in the history of telecommunications" achieved throughput speeds of above 1.2 Terabits per second. Previous record, set in Korea, had been160 Gigabits per second. more

Interactive Deployment Database of Global WiMAX Deployments Released

The WiMAX Forum has released an Interactive Deployment Database, providing a resource of more than 300 WiMAX deployments across the world. Available for public use, this tool includes detailed information on each of the operators, stage and type of deployment, as well as spectrum utilized. The database is planned to be updated quarterly with the latest information. more

Aircell vs. VoIP

Last week American Airlines launched their Aircell wireless Internet access on a limited number of flights. It didn't take long before a few folks tried to make voice and video calls (in violation of Aircell's terms-of-service according to their PR folks), and it didn't take long before someone figured a way around their voice/video blocking efforts. more

FCC Banning Wireless Devices that Interfere with White Spaces Spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a ban on some wireless microphones and other low-powered devices that operate in the 700-MHz band after the digital TV transition in February, next year. This is part of an attempt to clear any potential interference with the "white spaces" spectrum which will be fully available for "public safety as well as commercial wireless services". more