Ten months before the nation flips to digital television, technology companies and TV broadcasters are fighting over the virtual remote, with different ideas of what to do with the unused airwaves. Today, Google, Microsoft and others are launching an advertising and lobbying blitz to convince Capitol Hill that these unoccupied airwaves, or “white spaces,” could be used for affordable high-speed Internet service, greatly benefiting rural areas and spurring competition and innovation. Tech companies say the technology is there to allow low-powered, unlicensed devices, such as cell phones, laptops and BlackBerrys, to operate in the empty spectrum without interfering with over-the-air TV programming and wireless microphone signals. The Federal Communications Commission is trying to figure if the technology can do this, although several publicized tests have failed. Such stumbles are exhibit A in the case TV broadcasters are making against opening up white spaces. The broadcasters, who've aired their opposition through an equally aggressive lobbying campaign, say if such use is allowed it will interrupt, namely freeze, TV pictures. Programming disruptions are why broadcasters want white-space access to require a license. They've proposed auctioning off the spectrum for licensed use that could turn the white spaces into a private estate instead of a free public park. That’s not what lawmakers will be hearing starting today.
- Copps Not Convinced White Spaces Technology Is There Yet
- Ofcom plans superfast wireless service
- Google Eyes Free Spectrum
- Google and Microsoft go on Wi-Fi offensive in UK
- FCC Adjusts Final Rules On Use of Vacant TV Band
- Google launches white spaces campaign
- The Future of the Internet on Nov. 4
- Don’t auction off empty TV airwaves, SXSW activists tell FCC
- Finding Use for the Airwaves' 'White Spaces'
- Will Congress Scuttle FCC White Space Decision?
- Broadcasters Push White Spaces Alternative
- Coalition to push for open airwaves
- White Spaces Jockeying Continues
- Auction the spectrum’s ‘white spaces’
- TV, Web Firms Clash Over Airwave Test