Also on Nov. 4, FCC passes White Spaces

Also on Nov. 4, FCC passes White Spaces

Summary: Little reported amid the torrent of news and analysis on easily the most significant election since Ronald Reagan in 1980 (and given the economic crisis, perhaps the most significant since FDR in 1932), the FCC Tuesday voted in favor of White Spaces, delighting the tech industry and those in favor of ubiquitous Internet and irritating broadcasters, wireless mic makers and Dolly Parton.

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Little reported amid the torrent of news and analysis on easily the most significant election since Ronald Reagan in 1980 (and given the economic crisis, perhaps the most significant since FDR in 1932), the FCC Tuesday voted in favor of White Spaces, delighting the tech industry and those in favor of ubiquitous Internet and irritating broadcasters, wireless mic makers and Dolly Parton.

"White spaces are the blank pages on which we write our broadband future," said Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein during the meeting. "Let's hope this is not just WiFi on steroids but WiFi on amphetamines as well because it will be that fast." (Wash Post)

Here's a look at some of the responses. At the Wireless Innovation Alliance, spokesman Jake Ward said:

“This is a great order, a great start, and a great day for innovation. The full potential of white space technology has yet to be imagined, but with today’s decision, the FCC has given America’s greatest innovators the resources they need to make it a reality for American consumers and our economy. Chairman Martin and the Commission as a whole have demonstrated a tremendous amount of integrity and a remarkable commitment to science and serving the public’s best interest.

Motorola CEO Greg Brown praised the vote as a "significant step to usher in a new era of technology allowing for major investments in innovative wireless broadband, education, and government/enterprise applications to spur economic development." But Shure, the leading maker of wireless mics, was considerably more cautious. Mark Brunner, a senior director at Shure, said the vote "greatly complicates the lives of wireless microphone users." At the same time, Sandy LaMantia, CEO of Shure, said the company is "working diligently on technologies and technical support programs that will enable wireless microphone operators to be successful in a more complicated interference environment." Meanwhile, the FCC vowed to protect wireless mics in a "variety of ways."

"The locations where wireless microphones are used, such as sporting venues and event and production facilities, can be registered in the database and will be protected in the same way as other services." (press release)

And wireless users can look forward to the agency "closely oversee(ing) and monitor(ing)" white space devices.

Microsoft, which plans to release software for devices says it will be a year before white space devices are on the market, reports InfoWeek.

Topics: Government US, Government, Networking, Wi-Fi

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4 comments
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  • broadband or wireless mics - let's see....

    I am sure that the fellow from Shure did not intend to
    sound like a horse's ass but to express concern over the
    white spaces as it would impact the performance of his
    company's wireless microphones is almost beyond belief.
    This spectrum has been in use across the country for more
    than half a century by broadcasters with megawatt
    transmitters and Shure's engineers have not figured out a
    way to avoid interference? And the real culprits over the
    past 25 years have been leaky computer devices with ever
    decreasing wave lengths and poor shielding. Time for
    Shure to hire some new engineers away from Cisco-
    Lynksys.
    zeebruce
    • We users of wireless microphones...

      avoid interference by diligent and careful selection
      of frequencies and coordination with other users in
      the area. Unfortunately, the white spaces proposal
      does not in any way address our concerns. In fact,
      tests of the highly touted technology were not
      successful.
      msalzberg
  • RE: Also on Nov. 4, FCC passes White Spaces

    This is a wonderful decision by the FCC which could lead to providing Internet access to so many Americans and at speeds rivaling that of other nations. Internet literacy is rapidly becoming a necessity for society as we know it. Those without access are perpetually at a competitive disadvantage.

    Also, as the wife of a man who relies on wireless mic technology for his business, I am confident that we will be able to work around this future snafu...thanks the the timely warning from this article.
    dglapion
  • Ridiculous

    "The locations where wireless microphones are used, such as sporting venues and event and production facilities, can be registered in the database"

    What an affront to the intelligence of all interested parties. First of all, if a film crew shows up on location for one day and uses wireless mics, what then? The location won't be in this vague "database", especially if conditions force them to move unexpectedly. And what if both the mics and white-space devices are mobile? Who takes priority?

    And what about the white-space devices themselves? Will every one be required to have GPS and consult this magical database before transmitting?

    The very submission of this lame and obviously bogus assurance merely solidifies opponents' claims that this proposal is poorly conceived.
    dgurney