Reallocating Unused TV Spectrum (to the People!)

Is the FCC capable of acting in the interest of individuals, startups, and free enterprise at the expense of entrenched special interests like TV broadcasters in the US?  Apparently, they're capable of thinking about doing what's right and for that, a STANDING OVATION!

I sensed convergent serendipity last week but couldn't quite put my finger on it.  In very close succession,

  1. I installed an 802.11g network in my home (I'm a late adopter, not a Luddite).

  2. Noted that the use of our invisible spectrum, or the use of the air above Redmond, WA in any way, is not mentioned in Redmond's comprehensive plan as either a “public utility“ or “land use“

  3. Discussed Wi-Fi with the IT director for the City of Redmond

  4. Discussed Wi-Fi with a member of the US House of Representatives

  5. Received a Wi-Fi policy braindump from the Congressional Reserarch Service via a member of the Representative's staff: long and intriguing.

Are Michael Powell and I operating on the same wavelength for the first time ever?  Or is he just angling for job security no matter who wins the Presidential election this November?

[From Infoworld: FCC proposes that unused TV spectrum goes to wireless, by Grant Gross.]

"For more than half a century, vacant TV channels (which represent some of the most valuable spectrum available) have been underutilized," Gelsinger said in a statement. "Releasing this spectrum for unlicensed use will help foster new technologies, create opportunities for business and bring exciting new products to consumers." [...]

The FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which could take several months to finalize, seeks to establish separate interference rules for personal wireless devices and fixed access transmitters.

The opening up of the TV bands to wireless devices could create an "explosion" in new business similar to the impact of the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards, said FCC Chairman Michael Powell. The proposal also could bring more broadband services to rural areas, he said.

"This technology has the potential to provide greater service to the American public," Powell said in a statement. "It promises to dramatically increase the availability and quality of wireless Internet connections -- the equivalent of doubling the number of lanes on a congested highway."

For the FCC's press release, see Word, Acrobat.

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