[opendtv] Re: news: F.C.C. to Open Radio Spectrum

  • From: "Hunold, Ken" <KRH@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2008 09:45:18 -0500

"Some have called this Wi-Fi on steroids," Mr. Copps said. "I hope
they're correct."

The last time I checked, the type of steroids Mr. Copps alluded to were
illegal.



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From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Craig Birkmaier
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 5:20 AM
To: OpenDTV Mail List
Subject: [opendtv] news: F.C.C. to Open Radio Spectrum

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/technology/internet/05spectrum.html?_r
=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

F.C.C. to Open Radio Spectrum

By MATT RICHTEL
Published: November 4, 2008

Over the objections of television broadcasters and other groups, federal
regulators set aside a disputed slice of radio spectrum for public use
on Tuesday, hoping it would lead to low-cost, high-speed Internet access
and new wireless devices.

The Federal Communications Commission voted 5 to 0 to approve the new
use for the unlicensed frequencies, known as white spaces.

A coalition of powerful groups, including broadcasters, Broadway theater
producers and sports franchises, hoped to derail or delay the decision.
They have argued that their own transmissions - whether from television
signals or from wireless microphones used in live music performances -
could face interference from new devices that use the white spaces.

But F.C.C. commissioners said in a public meeting on Tuesday that they
were confident that enough testing had been done to assure them that
interference was not a major risk.

"It's fair to say few other engineering analyses at the F.C.C. have been
as lengthy and open," said Michael J. Copps, a commissioner.

Echoing the views of other commissioners, he added that the measure
could lead to development of a new generation of devices that use the
spectrum to provide Internet access.

Commissioners said such access could be more reliable than Wi-Fi, which
also uses unlicensed frequencies but does not reach as far.

That view has been heralded by technology companies, like Google,
Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, which will benefit from the spread of
Internet access.

"Some have called this Wi-Fi on steroids," Mr. Copps said. "I hope
they're correct."

The measure was championed by Kevin J. Martin, the F.C.C.'s chairman. 
Some commissioners voted for the measure but said they agreed with its
opponents that the issue was pushed too quickly and that more time could
have been taken for discussion or testing.

"When the commission puts expediency ahead of an open process, it
creates unnecessary resentment from parties that believe they were not
given a fair hearing," said Jonathan S. Adelstein, a commissioner. He
said he nevertheless voted for the measure because he felt further delay
was unlikely to change the outcome.

In addition to the broadcasters, the decision was opposed by the
Broadway theater industry, which argued that new devices using the white
spaces could interfere with transmissions from wireless microphones and
among crew members.

A coalition of Broadway producers and performers joined the broadcasters
in arguing that the F.C.C. should conduct more tests.

"We are deeply disappointed with the F.C.C. decision that could silence
Broadway productions and those at other venues around the country," said
Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League, a trade
group representing the New York theater industry.

The discussion over how to handle white spaces emerged in light of an
impending change in the way television signals were delivered. 
Starting in February, TV stations will be required to switch to digital
from analog delivery.

Since 2004, the F.C.C. has been studying whether the frequencies between
television channels - the white spaces - could be used by other devices,
particularly because digital signals are less prone to interference. The
F.C.C. performed two sets of tests that showed some potential for
disruption on frequencies used by broadcasters, live theater
performances or others who rely on the same spectrum.

But F.C.C. commissioners said they had confidence that interference
could be mitigated through tight regulation of new devices. For devices
to be automatically certified by the commission, they must include
technology that determines whether they are in a location where the
channels are protected for use by incumbent broadcasters; if they are,
they must find some other channel to transmit on.

Mr. Martin said he expected that devices using the spectrum could be on
the market within a year to 18 months. These might include portable
communications gadgets as well as in-home electronics that, for
instance, could carry a video signal from a computer or recording device
to a television.

Technology companies applauded the F.C.C.'s decision.

"The F.C.C. has taken a significant step to usher in a new era of
technology allowing for major investments in innovative wireless
broadband," Greg Brown, president and co-chief executive of Motorola,
said in a statement.

In a blog post, Larry Page, Google's co-founder and president of
products, said he believed engineers and entrepreneurs would be quick to
build devices to take advantage of the white spaces.

"We think that this spectrum will help put better and faster Internet
connections in the hands of the public," he wrote.
 
 
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