Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Great "White Spaces" Challenge

Google (and its technology partners) are facing the great "white spaces" challenge - the next big spectrum allocation battle - from the politically powerful NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) and others.

On the one hand we have the over-the-air TV broadcasters (who rarely offer much worth the bandwidth it takes to beam it into our living rooms) insisting that the spectrum will "suffer" from the use of unlicensed wi-fi like devices operating near THEIR frequencies.

On the other hand, we have pretty much the rest of the country clamoring - no, make that screaming - for the opportunity to deploy "innovative" wireless communications devices and services, "stimulate" our economy, and make "better use" of nearly the very SAME spectrum - all on an unlicensed basis with little if any regulatory enforcement of that use. (Which, IMHO, is a somewhat worrisome scenario to begin with considering the historical track record over the years of the FCC's ability to "protect" the natural resource we call the RF spectrum, AND, the purported "better use" and "innovation" that the "white spaces" proponents claim they'll make with the resource.)

This spectrum battle should prove VERY interesting to say the least. Let's hope the regulators make the right decision - whatever "right" is deemed to be these days.


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