Speaking at a New America Foundation event last week in Washington, D.C., Google co-founder Larry Page tried to bolster his firm's case for the FCC to make white spaces--vacant channels of spectrum next to the television broadcaster bands--available for unlicensed wireless broadband access. Page is hoping to sway the FCC, which is expected to issue a report on its white-space device testing some time this summer. The FCC has been testing several white-space device prototypes and is expected to continue to trial devices.
White spaces are slivers of spectrum in the 700 MHz that were originally designed to prevent interference between TV broadcasts. However as broadcasters transition to digital broadcasting, some industry players (such as Google) believe there is an opportunity to use these white spaces to deliver unlicensed wireless broadband services. The broadcast industry opposes the move, saying it will threaten the transition to digital TV and cause interference. The CTIA meanwhile recommends auctioning off the unused broadcast spectrum, and a host of other industries are concerned about interference, including hospitals, entertainers and professional sports organizers. They fear interference with wireless microphones. During his speech, Page discounted the broadcasters' view that using white space spectrum would cause interference, saying that there isn't any technical validity to that claim.
- see this BusinessWeek article
- Sprint, T-Mobile advocate white space for backhaul. See this white space story
- CTIA, carriers join NAB against white space devices. Read this white space story
- FCC begins second round of white-space testing. See this white space story