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FCC Opens Up White Space For Unrestricted Uses

in FCC/National Broadband Plan/Spectrum/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, September 24, 2010 - In a unanimous vote, the Federal Communications Commission approved the use of the “white spaces” for unlicensed uses. The white spaces are the band of spectrum now empty after television signals went digital. These bands offer some of the best promulgation characteristics and are available nationwide.

This is the first release of unlicensed spectrum in 20 years. The uses for this spectrum are endless but the most promising is a product being called “super Wi-Fi.”

In a limited trial, Microsoft used the whitespace to provide Wi-Fi using two transmitters to cover their 500 acre campus in Redmond, Wash. This project would have normally required the use of thousands of traditional transmitters.

In deference to wireless microphones, the commission has set aside two channels nationwide for use by these devices.

In a statement of support, Commissioner Michael Copps said: “Throughout the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, I have emphasized the countless ways that transformative broadband technology intersects with nearly all aspects of our everyday lives. The opportunities created by white space technologies are endless: whether it’s increasing the reach of broadband to unserved and underserved populations, including tribal lands; whether it’s giving local governments tools for implementing smart city, eco-friendly wireless applications; whether it’s providing robust wireless coverage for school children, inside and outside the classroom. The possibilities are just about limitless.”

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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