Thursday, September 23, 2010

FCC vote on white spaces lays promising foundation for “Wi-Fi on steroids”

This morning the Federal Communications Commission adopted final technical rules related to white spaces – the empty airwaves between broadcast TV channels – that we believe will pave the way for “Wi-Fi on steroids.”

For several years now, the tech industry, the public interest community, and entrepreneurs have been clamoring for the green light to begin innovating and building new products for these airwaves on an unlicensed basis. Today’s order finally sets the stage for the next generation of wireless technologies to emerge, and is an important victory for Internet users across the country.

Chairman Genachowski and his fellow Commissioners deserve ample credit for adopting rules that ultimately will put better and faster wireless broadband connections in the hands of the public. We’re glad to see that the FCC appears to have rejected calls to enact burdensome and unnecessary constraints that would have made it more difficult to deploy useful technologies on these airwaves. Instead, the Commission has put forward common-sense rules that will help encourage innovation, while fully safeguarding incumbent signals from interference.

What’s next on TV white spaces? We’re hopeful the FCC soon will name one or more administrators of the geolocation database, and establish the ground rules for its operation. Once the database is up and running, new white spaces devices and tools can begin to roll out to consumers.

Nonetheless, this important step should be viewed as the beginning, and not the end, of crafting forward-looking spectrum policy for our country. From creating a comprehensive spectrum inventory, to investigating incentive auctions for TV broadcast spectrum, to revisiting the efficacy of spectrum sensing technologies, these are exciting times for folks to get involved in developing more efficient and effective policies to govern our nation’s airwaves.


Michael Martin said...

Wouldn't be surprised if Google buys Spectrum Bridge for their geolocation database & gets the admin role.

Then combine White Spaces broadband with Google's thousands of miles of dark fiber & could provide the entire United States with Wi-Fi...for free.

Charbax said...

I've been asking everywhere for years, can this White Spaces network be setup like, where before we start building it out, we make sure that most of all these new access points comply with one same authentication system, compatible with OpenID and any of the other authentication systems.

This way, everyone would be able to access to every access point everywhere in the world. Instead of using WPA-type encryption like there is on WiFi, which means users can only access to their own access points but can never access WiFi anywhere else in the world unless the access points are left open.

Devices could thus come with auto-ahtentication and thus instantly connect to the Internet.

If a pricing is decided from the access point provider, then a standard for charging can be implemented. Such as $1/GB or less, something like that. So you login with your OpenID and you click "OK" to pay whichever rate/GB the current access point provider might be charging. And get an overview of eventual alternative networks that are also available in the area and their prices.

A counter in the top right corner of Android should display how much credit I have and how much I am using at any time. Credit would be pre-paid and could be earned by sharing ones home ADSL/Cable/Fibre connection with the neighborhood!

This way, if an access point can be built for the same price as a WiFi hotspot, then the whole world could be covered with free interoperable Super WiFi in the matter of months and for very small investment cost.

KingDouche said...

I can hear CLEAR WIMAX crying from here.

broc said...

I can't afford the data plans. A national, advertising supported wireless network is something I can dig.

SFEdward said...

I love the idea but please... please... whatever you do don't forget about Canada!

"cough" google voice "cough"

Paramendra Bhagat said...

More. More. This is not entirely enough.

JazeCompanies said...

starting a foundation to broadcast google tv? With the speed and the broadcast range it would be a seemingly efficient way to distribute video even to those who don't have broadband. This would make a google set top box even more appealing to consumers.

stevehc1 said...

I'm just as in favor of expanded wireless connectivity as anyone else. But I believe the importance of the necessity and actual usefulness of these newly-available frequencies in the U.S. is being WAY overblown, with the possible exceptions being a) expanded access in *extremely* rural areas, and b) improved and expanded availability of television and other a/v programming transmitted via Wi-Fi.

So I'm not about to hold my breath waiting for all kinds of new "wiz-bang" gadgets and gizmos that will truly improve our quality of life in any meaningful way, except for maybe the federal auctioning off of more frequencies that could help plug our federal deficit by some very small amount.

Jon W said...

Stevehc1 said:

I'm just as in favor of expanded wireless connectivity as anyone else. But I believe the importance of the necessity and actual usefulness of these newly-available frequencies in the U.S. is being WAY overblown, with the possible exceptions being

a) expanded access in *extremely* rural areas

I'd be extremely in favor of his option "a" here.

I don't care if it's wireless or uses 4" steel pipe as long as I could pick up some broadcast TV that's 40 miles - 60 miles away.

They stopped analog and broke it, so not I couldn't even get the religious channel on 16 that I used to get in the worst of conditions - even if I wanted too...

It sounds good as long as it includes local channels too and with a total price (for a/v under $55)
That's what I pay for DirecTV Total plus for standard cable fare now (or, more if it offered local Digital TV channels here - which even DirecTV doesn't offer at any price or package)

I got the biggest antenna that Radio Shack sells (no rotor, but I'd happily settle for the 3 broadcast channels I could get, before they broke it with the digital crap.

b) improved and expanded availability of television and other a/v programming transmitted via Wi-Fi.

Well, if I have to pay more that the previous price of free for broadcast TV, then I'd hope it'd be better that what channels 16, 10, & 7, had when I could get them

Mosesjf said...

This could have real impact, the channels available in the white space in combination with the modern equipment could allow for connections of 12 - 48 Mbps at ranges of 20 miles for fixed and 4 - 6 miles for mobile handsets. When combined with gigabit wireless links for backahul into difficult locations and better use of the existing fiber network you have the possibility to make high-speed internet ubiquitous nation wide.

As the chip-sets go into mass production the price will come down very low, the standards in use on equipment of this type are designed to accommodate a great number of simultaneous connections. As such, you will see it appearing in an ever increasing range of products.

Targeted marketing might be the end goal, but there would be a lot of business involved in making this all happen. It will make the most noticeable difference in the more remote areas, but everyone would notice the difference.

F-B--N said...

Mesh WI-FI on Steroids

This project could start from google's data center to surrounding areas. server that are not accessible on mesh could temporary proxy through google gateway (since google is giving out free internet already)

Anyone are allow to create mesh node to increase coverage.

Data centers might join.Putting up a node is one time cost to increase bandwidth.As more data centers participate in this mesh ,there's lesser need to rely on ISP,providing free internet to end users.

However,this is a large scale project (if it's implemented).Any upgrades is a major upgrade.It need to be plan and design carefully.

Vonfouch said...

I don't think AT&T version Comcast and other data providers will step aside so easy. Now AT&T is forcing data planes on smart phone users (I gave my old IPhone to my kid to use as a phone and use the home wi-fi, AT&T added a data plane to his phone out of the blue WTF) so I think they are thinking ahead. With white space wifi, people will not need a data plan or cable internet.