Internet Over Unused TV Airwaves Fails Government Test

The US Government has given a failing grade today to a prototype device that Microsoft Corp., Google Inc., Dell Inc. and other technology companies said would beam high-speed Internet service over unused television airwaves. In an 85-page report, the Federal Communications Commission on July 31 said the devices submitted by the technology coalition could not reliably detect unused TV spectrum, and could also cause interference. Despite the setback, however, FCC chairman Kevin Martin said Tuesday the agency still would like to find a way to transmit high-speed Internet service over the unused airwaves.

Edmond Thomas, former chief engineer for the FCC and representative of the technology coalition which, in addition to the aforementioned companies, also includes Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp., EarthLink Inc. and Philips Electronics North America, said the companies are convinced the spectrum can be used without causing interference to TV and wireless microphone signals. "We intend to work with the FCC in order to identify the discrepancies in their tests with the tests we've done."

The technology coalition believes that unlicensed and unused TV airwaves, also known as "white spaces," would make Internet service accessible and affordable, especially in rural areas and also spur innovation. On the other hand, TV broadcasters oppose usage of white spaces, fearing that the device will cause interference with television programming and could cause problems with a federally mandated transition from analog to digital signals in February 2009.

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6 Comments

peterish said,
lmao so as TV transitions to digital, the interweb is going analog!!!

Err, No.

The transmission will be digital, but will use the frequency band that TV currently uses.

Well, actually, it won't use any bandwidth if the government doesn't give it approval.

I think it's just generally a bad idea to share bandwidth between device types, even if one is digital and one is analog. Too much opportunity for unwanted cross-talk.

In the USA there are only two ways to get broadband:

1. DSL from the Phone company (verzion does offer Fios in some areas)

2. HSI from the Cable company

This idea by google, microsoft, etc, would create a third way for most people to get broadband espicially in rural areas that will probably never be offered DSL or Cable. Imagine a nationwide wireless broadband network that competes with DSL and cable.

Your technically not correct on that...

In the USA there is also

Satalite internet
Cellular Internet connections for computers
Broadband over powerline
MetroEthernet
Fiberoptic Internet (you can get this almost anywhere that doesnt have FIOS, but its expensive, usually businesses get it through their phone company smart jack's on their incoming phone connections)
WiMax is deployed in a bunch of towns for internet, SpeakEasy deployed it in Seatle

and the list goes on... there are tons of alternatives, people just dont look into them... they see the DSL or Cable commercials and stop there

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