The FCC Is About to Start a Powerful WiFi Giveaway

When the US made the switch from analog TV last year, the thinner digital channels left spare space in the spectrum. The NY Times says the FCC will let that space be used for a powerful new generation of WiFi.

The NYT claims the decision will be made at a September 23rd meeting of federal regulators, who will decide to make what's called the "white space" portions of the wireless spectrum open to anyone who wants to use it. This could mean things like a single wireless network that covers your entire college campus, or broadband internet boosted into isolated rural areas.

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But what else does it mean? Nobody is entirely sure, and that's why this news is so exciting. "This will...be a platform for innovators and entrepreneurs," explained Julius Genachowsk to the Times—bear in mind that spectrum giveaways such as this one were responsible for the birth of WiFi in the first place. In the meantime, the issue of interference remains unresolved—as the spectrum space will be open to anyone who wants to use it, rather than auctioning it off to a company that would have sole access. But in response to such concerns, the FCC says "we are confident that the benefits of moving forward are so significant that we should act now." [NY Times]

DISCUSSION

I'm sure this will piss of the Ham Radio people yet again. FCC's been kind of bypassing them, and the public never gives them a second thought.

As awesome and wonderful as a lot of this technology is (WIFI distribution, Cellular technology, and even Ethernet over Powerlines) it often steps on and disturbs other people that live off of the RF spectrum. Don't forget, now you may be able to stream Netflix to you're iPhone, but you may be completely destroying someone's way of life or hard earned hobby in the process.