Google launched Free the Airwaves, a public advocacy site dedicated to pushing for what product manager Minnie Ingersoll calls "Wi-Fi on Steroids," meaning TV white spaces. Google and numerous other high-tech companies are pushing for the FCC to allow unlicensed use of the white spaces, much as with 802.11 spectrum. The odds look good. The Wall Street Journal quotes FCC chairman Kevin J. Martin as approving of the idea:
"Spectrum is very valuable and we want to make sure it's being used as efficiently as possible," says FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. "The idea of trying to utilize the 'white spaces' from a consumer perspective would be a good win for everyone."The FCC is due to release test results on white-space devices that could be used to deliver Internet connectivity over the airwaves. Then the commissioners will take up the question of white spaces and if all goes well, the regulatory barriers could be lifted by years end. Who doesn't like it? Broadcasters.
"The only way we operate as a business is if our viewers get a clear TV picture. Given the fact that there's been a series of failures (in testing) at the FCC it doesn't give us a lot of comfort," says Dennis Wharton, spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters.FCC engineers aren't revealing their conclusions.