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Sunday, October 26, 2008

High speed internet for all

There's a good chance that on November 4th the FCC'll do something really good to improve Internet and mobile phone access in the US: on that day the Commission is planning on voting on regulations to open huge swatches of idle but extremely valuable radio spectrum for open UNLICENSED use. There's also a very good chance that special interests will succeed in delaying and/or killing this long overdue action. Your input to the FCC PRIOR TO TUESDAY'S DEADLINE FOR PUBLIC COMMENT could make a difference (simple way to comment provided by Google here click here if you're already convinced).
The use of TV 'white space' for the provision of rural broadband is an alternative means of accomplishing the Commission's universal service goal of deploying advanced services to all areas of the nation without requiring additional funding mechanisms.

The principal opponent to the use of these frequencies is the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). There ostensible reason for opposition is technical: they're afraid, they say, that use of these frequencies, particularly the open unlicensed use being proposed to the FCC by Chairman Kevin Martin will interfere with adjacent use by TV stations.
Suppose that much of this spectrum was used to deliver low cost, high speed Internet access. Suppose that people used this Internet access to obtain their entertainment on the Internet rather than from said broadcasters.
Traditional carriers are also opposed to having you make unlicensed use of spectrum. They would rather that you get your mobile access and Internet access through their proprietary leased spectrum.

Technology companies like Google and Microsoft are in favour of unlicensed use of the white spaces. Their motives are also commercial – nothing wrong with that. They live by innovation and hope to benefit from the communication opportunities that will open up. Google's Android phone is particularly suited for an open environment.

Tom Evslin

"They live by innovation and hope to benefit.."
That IS the point.
Will it be really on the side of the People, or just passing from one hand to the other? Who is going to benefit?
As for the lower cost and higher speed I have my personal doubts.
Having free spectrum doesn't mean that the user will benefit from it.
Rural zones are called in this way because of the lower number of inhabitants.
When the service is shared by few the whole cost is divided among a small number and so it is much more expensive.
Availability is something else.
In this I agree. More users (customers) on the Internet.
THIS is what matters to the ones who will profit from it.
But, as you say, who cares?
It is anyway a step further and very welcome.
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