Thursday, October 16, 2008

FCC to vote on opening up "white spaces"

Posted by Richard Whitt, Washington Telecom and Media Counsel

For nearly two years, a broad-based coalition of public interest groups and technology companies including Google has been advocating for unlicensed uses of the largely vacant airwaves between broadcast TV channels ("white spaces"). This spectrum has the potential to dramatically transform the ways Americans connect to the Internet. And over the past two months, more than 18,000 Americans have joined the effort through Free the Airwaves.

Today FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced that he wants to move forward with final rules to open up the vacant spectrum for use by broadband devices. Furthermore, press reports today indicate that the FCC's field testing showed that "there are no major interference problems" with TV and wireless microphone signals.

This news should be greatly encouraging for American consumers. The FCC now has more than enough information to develop appropriate rules that protect TV stations and wireless microphone users from harmful interference, while at the same time allowing innovators and entrepreneurs to develop technology that productively uses these airwaves.

Chairman Martin said today that he hopes to have the full commission vote on rules to govern these airwaves at the FCC's next public meeting, scheduled for November 4th. Coincidentally enough, we've called on the FCC to take action by that day.

Now is the time for the FCC to put the power of better and faster broadband in the hands of innovators and entrepreneurs. Please sign the petition to the FCC at Free the Airwaves to help make it happen.

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