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New FCC 'Super Wi-Fi' Initative Not Really New
White Space Broadband Still Running Political Gauntlet
by Karl Bode 10:41AM Monday Feb 04 2013 Tipped by JimThePCGuy See Profile
The Washington Post's Cecilia Kang is exciting numerous people this morning by noting the FCC is pushing for a new, free "Super Wi-Fi" initiative that would deploy wireless service "so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month." I've had about a dozen people write in excited about this "new" FCC effort, but what Kang's talking about is White Space broadband, which the industry has been battling over for the majority of the last decade.

Click for full size
White Space broadband rides on the unlicensed spectrum freed by the migration to digital television. The push isn't new; this fight has been going on in one form or another since at least 2004. The FCC finally gave initial device approval back in 2011, and the first trial launch occurred last year in Wilmington, North Carolina. Also not new are company efforts to ensure this potential competitor never sees the light of day.

AT&T's friends in Congress are busy trying to kill the effort. The technology dodged a bullet early last year after AT&T failed to sneak language into the payroll tax extension bill that would have prohibited the technology from ever coming to fruition. Broadcasters went so far as to sic Dolly Parton on the technology back in 2008, and Cisco has been waging a battle against "Super Wi-Fi" for just as long.

Kang tells me the Post's story was motivated by the new comments to the FCC both in support and opposition of White Space broadband. As Kang notes, the one thing stopping this technology from being crushed is that it still has the support of companies like Microsoft and Google. Opponents for five years have tried to claim the technology will cause interference issues, something an unattributed FCC member tells the Post they've found absolutely zero evidence of in a decade of testing:
quote:
An FCC official added that there is little proof so far that the spectrum that could be used for public WiFi systems would knock out broadcast and 4G wireless signals. "We want our policy to be more end-user-centric and not carrier-centric. That’s where there is a difference in opinion” with carriers and their partners, said a senior FCC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the proposal is still being considered by the five-member panel.
In short the initiative isn't new, it has been fighting for survival for nearly a decade, and it still has a long and ugly political gauntlet to run before it can even begin to disrupt the existing telecom apple cart.

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h4x0r3d
Premium
join:2003-04-13
Oxford, MS

.

big brother

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Super

The only thing this technology would "interfere" with is certain companies' profit margin.
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: Super

Don't talk about what you don't know, it'll severely interfere with wireless microphone systems. Wireless mic users just had to move off the LTE bands a few years ago, don't force a move into an even narrower space again already at costs of approx $1000/ch - most of them borne by non-profits (community theatres, churches, etc).

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Re: Super

Actually, I did know about that. (I'm sure the issue will show up in some astroturf organization report any day now.)
--
"Face piles of trials with smiles; it riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave."
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: Super

So you're okay with community theatres, churches, nightclubs, concert venues, etc being forced to spend thousands of dollars each on new equipment because they're being trampled on by ISPs and cell phone providers when they were there first?

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

Re: Super

The spectrum is owned by the people of the United States; and if those people ever get lucky enough to actually use that spectrum in a meaningful way that benefits them and saves them money... then, yeah, I'm OK with that. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" (relatively speaking).

However, feel free to contact your Representative and Senators in Congress (who are the persons who might actually be able to do something about it to your liking). Frankly, though, I'm dubious about any need for you to worry about the situation any time soon.
--
"Face piles of trials with smiles; it riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave."
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: Super

So you never go to concerts? You never rock out at clubs? You never go to community theatre or high school theatre performances?

Those are meaningful uses of the spectrum that benefit the people of the United States.

There *are* alternatives to white space microphones, but they are expensive, offer no real benefit, and make the use of 2.4GHz Wi-Fi in an area impractical (which doesn't just harm public Wi-Fi but also other theatre applications).

twaddle

@sbcglobal.net

Will never become reality

You can take it to the bank. This will never become a true reality. The big providers will spend millions to make sure it doesn't happen and protect their bottom line. Washington whores A.K.A. the 545 entrusted with the dominion of the US)have their hands out and their wallets open to collect their bribes!
bklass
Premium
join:2012-02-06
Canada
kudos:2

2 edits

Is this White Spaces?

.

lookingglass

@comcast.net

Re: Is this White Spaces?

White Spaces: the wireless spectrum that can be used without causing harmful interference to primary users of a band of spectrum.. (think of lawyers drawing circles on maps that define keep-out distances in hope of preventing interference) Note: the swiss cheese around all the holes left (ie the "white spaces" between & around said circles) are the spectrum white space.. Go to WhiteSpaceAlliance.org for more info.. DL
georgeglass5

join:2010-06-07
New York, NY

This reminds me

of when, the corrupt Mayor Boss Tweed killed any thoughts on having the new york city subway built, accept it is the corporations & the shills in congress, that are the Boss Tweeds of our day. I wish more people in this country would realize these facts. This way of doing business should be totally unacceptable. Corporations should not be allowed to kill competing technologies because, they themselves cannot not compete, period. Because just as sure as there "will be another ice age" innovations will move forward.

Squire James

@embarqhsd.net

Re: This reminds me

I don't believe the government should be so powerful that they can stop this kind of thing. Remove the snakes, and then all we need to deal with are alligators. They're a lot easier to see and stop than the snakes.

QuidNYC

@cogentco.com

Re: This reminds me

Trouble is, in many situations government is the only effective mechanism for collective action.

If the government is rendered powerless when it comes to determining the allowable uses of the public airwaves, how do you propose we achieve the same ends? By outbidding the vested interests?
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast

Give it a fair chance, like Lightsquared

FCC gave Lightsquared a waiver until they could prove it worked without interfering with existing systems. Give white space networks the same chance, but prevent them if they do interfere.

It's interesting that Intel and Cisco are against this. Selling new hardware is what they're all about. I guess it's up to the Chinese to implement these devices.

motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:3

I am against this for the sole reason that it interferes!

I remember the article on broadband reports several years ago that showed that tests concluded that cable tv systems were having interference problems with white space devices. Also who knows these devices could interfere with ajacent channel assignments and is no use in markets like LA, Dallas, Philly, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, etc. that have a ton of low power channels that are using almost all of the spectrum from 2-51 that is not on ajacent channels from neighboring markets. Also how would this survive the planned reduction of OTA TV allotments from 2-51 to 2-31 I think white space is dead there as we will have channels fighting for 2-31 yet alone have any open space for white space channel devices we would be better served if the FCC auctioned a block of spectrum to companies that would use it as a WISP than to give it to white space.

plk
Premium
join:2002-04-20
united state

rural area not the city

White space is for the rural areas not the cities. Even with only 31 channels white space will be useful in the rural areas.

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

Re: rural area not the city

said by plk:

White space is for the rural areas not the cities

If that were true it would already be deployed. Wake up.
jcremin

join:2009-12-22
Siren, WI
kudos:2

Re: rural area not the city

said by RadioDoc:

said by plk:

White space is for the rural areas not the cities

If that were true it would already be deployed. Wake up.

It is true, and I would have deployed one in my rural ISP's service area 5 years ago if they would have gotten their act together, gotten the rules out right away, set the approval standards, and started actually approving devices. Instead, they have made about 1 year worth of progress in the last decade, and all the companies who WANT to offer broadband to the rural areas that are too expensive to wire are stuck with nothing that really works well for a last mile full of forest.
GB1

join:2007-09-09

Re: rural area not the city

I agree with jcremin. As a WISP in a rural area I would have deployed it years ago had it been available.

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

Ha Ha Ha

I can't believe you suckers keep falling for this. It's never happening. AT&T and Verizon are busily lobbying to have the UHF TV spectrum slashed in half again and when the dust settles and it's repacked--again--you won't be able to slide a splinter between stations, let alone "White Space" broadband.

Give up...the corporations have won and they are coming for your wallet.
Expand your moderator at work
meowmeow

join:2003-07-26
Helena, MT

Re: Ha Ha Ha

So true, and it's KILLING wireless microphone users. Line6 has a solution, but not for venues that rely on Wi-Fi or that use public Wi-Fi - their 2.4GHz digital wireless absolutely obliterates Wi-Fi.
GB1

join:2007-09-09
Corporatism is killing more than the hope of unlicensed white space in this country.
tanker001

join:2003-04-23
Saint Louis, MO

Anything the government supplies...

Anything the government supplies it can take away, limit, monitor, or apply conditions to receive. We all see what wonderful strides the government has made with Amtrak. You want to really "F" up the internet, let the government take it over.