White Space

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This Week in the White Spaces

Every once in a while I look in on the white spaces, to see how things are going. You'll recall that the white spaces are unused, non-contiguous ("swiss cheese" ) frequencies between broadcast stations around the county. Commr. McDowell of the FCC has said that initial rules for the white spaces will be released sometime this fall. If the white spaces are made available on an unlicensed basis for use by opportunistic, "smart," low-power mobile devices, entrepreneurial engineers will think of ways to use this wealth of spectrum (300 MHz wide, if fractured) to provide mobile connections to whatever fiber installations are nearest. more

White Spaces: Timing

Last week's emergency petition by the broadcasters to delay the FCC's Nov. 4 vote is just part of the white spaces atmosphere right now. Ars Technica reports that the mud is really flying -- the broadcasters are accusing proponents of white space use of wanting to kill off television. It's a familiar argument -- "If you do Y, broadcast television as we know it will be destroyed." more

Why You Needed to Be at eComm 2009

I've been posting photos and snippets during eComm 2009 this week, but composing my overall impressions has been another matter. Sitting through 3 days mostly filled with continuous 15 minute presentations is a surefire recipe to fry your brain, and most people I talked to were topped out well before things wrapped up Thursday night. It's information overload of the highest -- and best -- order... Here's my top-line takeaway, and reading the rest of this post is really just detail. But it's detail you'll probably love if you really want to know what you missed... more

The Trouble with White Spaces

Like several other engineers, I'm disturbed by the white spaces debate because it focuses on what I regard as the wrong question. The White Space Coalition argues that showing that a system can be constructed that prevents interference between White Space Devices and television broadcast signals compels the Commission to offer up the White Spaces for unlicensed use. This is far from obvious. more

Trump Administration Announces Its Big 5G Push: Largest-Ever Spectrum Auction and a 20.4B Fund

In a special White House event today, President Trump along with FCC chair Ajit Pai, announced a major push towards 5G deployment as part of the "5G Fast Plan" initiative. more

White Space in the Great White North

There is growing interest in the US for the FCC to look at White Space to enable more options for broadband wireless in rural areas. What is White Space? Last weekend, the Sunday NY Times published an article about wireless services that included this description: "In many areas, not all broadcast [television] channels are in use. The unused channels are "white spaces" of high-quality spectrum that could be made available to local Internet service providers. Unlike the much higher frequency of Wi-Fi, television broadcast frequencies can travel for miles and penetrate walls, providing a much broader range for Internet service." There is a coalition of eight technology companies driving the discussion in the US... more

Beyond White Spaces

Back in 1999 I wrote a column that envisioned the uses of digital wireless in the home. I compared two nascent, much-touted wireless protocols, Bluetooth and HomeRF. I completely, totally, slippery-dash missed Wi-Fi. There had been a public 802.11 spec since 1997. The first 802.11b devices, which made Wi-Fi popular, burst onto the scene in early 2000, just a few short months after my clueless insights. Today HomeRF is forgotten, Bluetooth is for ugly ear jewelry and Wi-Fi rulz... more

700MHz Block C Hits Reserve Price

After 17 rounds, the 700MHz spectrum auction has finally hit its one of its most closely watched targets: bidding on Block C has surpassed the Federal Communications Commission's mandated $4.638 billion reserve, meaning that the FCC's mandated open access rules will come into play. Bids on the block of spectrum totaled $4.744 billion after Round 17. more

Google, the NAB, and a Third Way in 'White Spaces' Debate

Google co-founder Larry Page came to Washington last week to take on the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the lobbying group that represents over-the-air television stations. It's a whole new adversary for the beleaguered broadcasters, who have been fighting cable and satellite television for years. The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering a proposal, by Google and other tech players. It would allow tech companies to build electronic devices that transmit wireless internet signals over the "white spaces," or the vacant holes in the broadcast television band. "We have an ambitious goal called pervasive connectivity through ubiquitous broadband networks," said Page... more

FCC Releases Details of the Upcoming 700Mhz Auction

Document detailing the upcoming 700Mhz auction has been released by FCC. The FCC has identified the applicants who are qualified to bid in the 700-MHz band auction, set to begin Jan. 24. The bidding itself, for about 1,200 licenses, will be conducted over the Internet and phone. The approved applicants include some expected names, such as Google (called Google Airwaves in the list), AT&T, Cox Wireless, Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless. But it also includes some less-discussed applicants, such as Chevron USA, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Spectrum Management, and a variety of small-to-midsize companies. more

White Spaces: The NAB vs. Reality

One of Washington's most powerful corporate lobbies is at it again. Raising a dust cloud of lies in a last-ditch effort to stop new technology that could better the lives of millions. For more than five years, now, the television broadcast lobby has tried to deny the American public access to white spaces -- unused airwaves that sit vacant between TV channels. Technology now exists that would tap the near limitless potential of these airwaves and deliver high-speed Internet services to tens of millions of people now left on the wrong side of the digital divide. more

Google Will Bid At Least $4.6 Billion on Wireless Airwaves

Google has announced today that it will bid at least $4.6 billion on the wireless airwaves that are to be auctioned off by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However Google will only commit to its bid if the following conditions are met... Om Malik of GigaOM says that behind all the 'openness' of Google's proposal, there are likely hefty vested interests in play... more

Vint Cerf Explains Google's Biggest Challenge in Telecommunications Space

In his recent visit to Google's Seattle office, Vint Cerf discussed various topics with reporters including Google's recent bid on the wireless airwaves. Below are a couple of questions asked during this session by Seattle Times' reporter, Brier Dudley: What's going to be Google's biggest challenge if it moves into the telecommunications space... more

Google Lobbying for Open Wi-Fi Spectrum

CNet News is reporting that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will be in the process of deciding whether to impose the so-called "open access" rules on winners of the upcoming auction of a generous chunk of the 700MHz broadcast TV band. Wireless companies are eager to bid on the auction as the 700MHz broadcast signals can travel farther and easily penetrate walls resulting in widespread, wireless broadband networks. more

The 700 MHz Multibillion-Dollar Auction Begins Tomorrow

The auction for rights to a highly valuable swath of the United States' airwaves (700 megahertz auction) will begin on Thursday, January 24th, beginning at 10am and is expected to include multibillion-dollar bids from the nation's two biggest wireless phone companies, Verizon and AT&T, as well as Google. more