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.