White space: Dell to make laptops; Google downright giddy

Dell Computer said it would introduce new laptops with integrated white-space cards capable of transmitting signals in the unlicensed white-space spectrum the FCC opened up for broadband devices last week.

Last week the FCC unanimously approved the use of white-space devices, but added some conditions under which the devices would have to operate to prevent interference. The conditions the FCC imposed includes requiring both fixed and portable devices to include spectrum sensing and geolocation capabilities as well as use an FCC database of TV signals and location of venues such as stadiums and churches that use wireless microphones. These database and geolocation capabilities would, in theory, prevent  interference with broadcast TV stations and wireless microphones and ensure compliance with FCC rules.

Meanwhile, Google, which has been lobbying the FCC heavily for approval of white-space devices and applications, is downright giddy about its white-space prospects. Google Co-founder Larry Page, during a keynote session on white spaces with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, repeatedly said he is optimistic about white-space devices and services and their ability to provide cheap wireless broadband. He predicts the majority of computers and mobile devices will have white-space capabilities within the next few years.

"We make most of our money on advertising on search, and there are a lot of times I can't easily do a Web search even with 3G or open WiFi networks," Page said. "If people can get easily connected anywhere [with white spaces], we can make 20 percent to 30 percent more money."

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