Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Scraps from Tom Evslin on free spectrum

Thanks to the foresight of some FCC staffers, a couple of slices of spectrum – little undesirable scraps, really, that no one else wanted – were set aside for UNLICENSED use. Anyone could build a radio to use this spectrum for any legal purpose so long as the radio was certified to follow certain rules including restrictions on signal strength which gave other players a chance to use the space as well. Owners of radios which use this unlicensed spectrum don't require a license.

Anyway, it turns out that unlicensed spectrum gets filled much more efficiently than licensed spectrum AND that the most innovative recent radio products like WiFi and Bluetooth are all squeezed into these scraps of unlicensed spectrum which they have to share with microwaves and garage door openers. Also turns out that consumers often don't have to pay for using this unlicensed spectrum once they buy the proper radios.

We could get much more entertainment from many more sources over unlicensed spectrum than we do over the proprietary spectrum allocated to TV stations – do you think that may be why the National Association of Broadcasters is so adamantly against the use of the so-called "TV white spaces"?

OK. On to the future of the country and our economy.
The newest equipment was developed (but not usually built) here; the newest services were developed AND hosted here; at one point most international Internet traffic passed through the US. None of this is true anymore. We lag much of the developed and some of the developing world in broadband penetration. We pay more for less bandwidth than many of our peers. Innovation happens where the early-adopter markets are. Much innovation which requires broad availability of reasonably priced very fast access is happening in Japan and Korea where that access is much more available than it is here.

It's not only our tech industry that will benefit if the FCC votes the right way on November 4th. All of our industry will be more competitive if we have better access to information and to each other. We can't afford NOT to have the world's best communication infrastructure. We once did; we can again.

I am not American.
I am not here for being on the side of this or that.
I like to approve or disapprove.
This is a wonderful opportunity for US.
This is a bright future for US.
This is a bright future for Internet technology.

My only concern: the moment we will breath every kind of waves from morning to evening it is without any doubt that news (and commercials) will be more wide spread.
Let's hope that for creating a healthy economy we won't create sick users...
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