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Google blog agitates for free access to white spaces

Tue, 08/19/2008 - 8:20am
Brian Santo

A new blog called “Free The Airwaves” advocates for the unlicensed use of the so-called white spaces of unused spectrum between television stations.

Only as visitors dig into the site do they discover that this is no grassroots organization, but Google continuing to agitate for free access to airwaves that have always been licensed.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just wrapped up tests of white-space transmission. It is drafting a report on the technological feasibility, and if the scheme is practical, it has yet to decide how to allocate access to the spectrum.

Companies like Google, Microsoft and others want free access to the spectrum. Verizon is prominent among those arguing that the airwaves should continue to be licensed.

On the technology side, Motorola is asserting that its transmission equipment works well, while Shure testifies that the scheme fails because it was demonstrated to interfere with wireless microphones used during an NFL exhibition game (story here).

Google is appealing directly to the public to put pressure on the FCC. On its blog, Minnie Ingersoll, Google’s product manager of alternative access team, writes: “At its core, Free The Airwaves is a call to action for everyday users. You don't need to be a telecommunications expert to understand that freeing the ‘white spaces’ has the potential to transform wireless Internet as we know it. When you visit the site, you'll be invited to film a video response explaining what increased Internet access could mean for you, to sign a petition to the FCC, to contact your elected officials, to spread the word, and more.”

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• Google blog agitates for free access to white spaces

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• Broadband Briefs for 8/19/08

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