March 25 2008 / by Marisa Vitols / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Government Year: 2009 Rating: 12
Wouldn’t it be nice to have cheap, high-speed wifi blanketing the entire United States? You’d be able to access the internet from anywhere, which would allow you to stream entertainment during long road trips, keep up-to-date on mass transit arrivals and departures, fall back on google maps when you become lost, or just not be tethered to an ethernet cord when you really just want to watch your kids play in the backyard while doing a bit of home-work.
Sound appealing? Google thinks so too. And they’ve proposed yet another solution to make this high-speed internet dream a reality.
Here’s the plan: The February 2009 conversion of all U.S. televisions from analog to digital will free-up an extraordinary amount of white space (basically, gaps of bandwidth in the previously saturated television spectrum), that could be used to project wireless internet signals throughout every home in America relatively risk-free.
Google’s ex parte filing with the FCC states that “[t]he unique qualities of the TV white space – unused spectrum, large amounts of bandwidth, and excellent propagation characteristics – offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans. In particular, this spectrum can provide robust infrastructure to serve the needs of underdeployed rural areas, as well as first responders and others in the public safety community. Moreover, use of this spectrum will enable much-needed competition to the incumbent broadband service providers.”
Sound like a win-win for everyone. So what’s the problem? TV broadcasters, wireless phone manufacturers, and even the NFL are worried that utilizing this white space will interfere with their programming, service or wireless devices. Google argues that this would not be a problem due to low-cost “spectrum sensing” which would prevent signals from being crossed.