Monday, September 27, 2010

First significant release of unlicensed spectrum in 25 years!

Logo of the United States Federal Communicatio...Image via WikipediaFCC frees spectrum for "Super Wi-Fi", wireless microphones, and other innovations.
On Thursday Sept.23rd, the FCC took steps to free up the so called "white spaces", vacant spectrum between television channels.

Chairman Julius Genachowski sighted that the focus was on unlicensed spectrum, commenting on the opportunities to innovators and entrepreneurs. In a statement released by the commission, Chairman Genachowski continues by commenting on the importance of the unlicensed spectrum to the future of our National Broadband Plan.

“The new unlicensed spectrum will be a powerful platform for innovation”, said Chairman Genachowski. The Chairman gave an example of the results of the release of the so-called “Junk band” years ago, and the wave of new technology that followed, utilizing the newly released spectrum, particularly the evolution of the multi-billion (dollar) Wi-Fi industry.
The first major application for the newly released spectrum, says the Chairman, is "Super Wi-Fi". The new Wi-Fi boasts longer range, faster speeds, and more reliable connections.

In a related release, Commissioner Michael J. Copps commended Julie Knapp and his team at the Office of Engineering and Technology for “confronting the hard questions head on”, and bringing the commission “an item that provides a technologically-sound way forward”.

Commissioner Copps continues, in the statement, by recognizing the importance of licensed wireless microphones, particularly to news gathering, as well as the recognition of the dependencies upon wireless microphones of other venues such as Broadway Theaters, sports arena, and churches. Commisioner Copps indicated that two reserved channels will be set aside nationwide, for the use of wireless microphones.

The adopted order eliminates the requirement that TV band devices that incorporate geo-location and database access must also include sensing technology to detect the signals of TV stations and low-power auxiliary service stations (wireless microphones). Furthermore, it requires wireless microphone users who seek to register in the TV bands databases to certify that they will use all available channels from 7 through 51 prior to requesting registration. Requests to register in the database will be public, thus allowing interested parties to weigh in on any given request.

Read the FCC Press Release.