Amid a backdrop of protest, FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell reportedly told Reuters that he’s optimistic communications officials will approve the Google- and Microsoft-backed plan to open the soon-to-be vacant TV airwaves, known as “white spaces.”
The FCC has scheduled a Nov. 4 vote on the proposal.
The white spaces will become available after U.S. broadcasters move to digital television next year.
The issue puts traditional broadcasters at odds with high-tech companies such as Google and Microsoft, which want the airwaves for new wireless devices. Broadcasters say the technology could cause interference.
McDowell said that there is great potential for a new wave of innovative and faster devices to be developed by the private sector with the new spectrum.
An FCC report, released earlier this month, analyzed two rounds of testing on prototype devices and cleared the technology to move forward.
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