Entries Matching: White Space
To call the discussion draft on spectrum reform circulated by House Commerce Commitee Republicans "flawed" understates the matter almost to the point of absurdity.
Since when does setting good spectrum policy require a time machine? Because that’s what the draft House Republican spectrum bill (the “Spectrum Innovation Act of 2011”) does. Look at page 26 of the bill to see what I mean. The bill tries to free up more spectrum for broadband, but it does it in a way that threatens the future of unlicensed spectrum, one of the key things that has made broadband take off.
Millions of people use Wi-Fi every day. It’s one of those ubiquitous technologies that works as a glue holding our proliferating gadgets together. Wireless ISPs use it to connect people to the Internet in places where there might otherwise be poor or no service. Coffee shops and other public places offer it as a basic amenity.
Yesterday I attended the White House event on incentive auctions. It was probably the most sensible public event on the pro-incentive auction side I’ve attended to date. While I have had several discussions with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) staff that persuade me that, if Congress gave the FCC generic authority to do voluntary incentive auctions (subject to limitations to protect broadcasters – including low-power broadcasters – that want to stay in the broadcasting business), they could design a pretty good auction that would get more spectrum out for both licensed and unlicensed broadband access.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski has a spectrum politics problem problem. On the one hand, he learned from last year’s D Block battle that he needs to stay aggressively on message to sell his spectrum reforms. His every speech on spectrum therefore reads like a campaign speech for incentive auctions. ‘We have a looming spectrum crisis, we need bold action, Congress must act now to pass incentive auctions.’ But, as Genachowski has discovered, this approach can have unintended consequences. Recently, Commissioner Robert McDowell reported that this focus on incentive auctions created uncertainty in Silicon Valley over the FCC’s commitment to the TV white spaces (TVWS).
The following statement is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director for Public Knowledge:
“Today’s action by the Federal Communications Commission is a great step forward to providing consumers with an exciting new range of products and services. White spaces technology, using the gaps between digital TV channels, will be adapted to uses ranging from adding flexibility to laptops and tablet computers, to extending broadband access to underserved people in rural and urban settings.
“We haven’t seen anything like this since the FCC 20 years ago approved the use of what was then thought to be unwanted spectrum and what today is used for wi-fi, and other unlicensed consumer applications.
“Companies are eager to build devices and deploy the technologies. The FCC’s action is a clear signal to go ahead and get started constructing an exciting part of our future.