Post I.T. - Washington Post Technology Blog Frank Ahrens Sara Goo Sam Diaz Mike Musgrove Alan Sipress Yuki Noguchi Post I.T.
Tech Podcast
The Bloggers
Subscribe to this Blog

Update: Google Guy's Words Get Quick Response


Google co-founder Larry Page turned up on Capitol Hill today to boost the company's "Free the Airwaves" campaign, and he had some strong words for those who oppose their bid to open more of the airwaves for high speed Internet access.

Google, Microsoft and others in the tech world want the FCC to allow the unlicensed use of "white spaces" -- the gaps in the spectrum between television channels -- as a means of making broadband Internet access widely available in the U.S. But broadcasters fear that their use could cause interference with television stations and other devices, such as wireless microphones.

Page said some of the tests that have been done to determine whether new devices using the white spaces would interfere had been "rigged." A Google spokesman said later he was referring to tests held in August at FedEx Field.

"The test was rigged deliberately," Page said during his remarks in the Dirksen Office building. "That's the kind of thing we've been up against here, and I find it despicable."

What did he mean by rigged? A Google spokesman explained later that the test devices could not detect the wireless microphones because the testers had used the same frequency as local television stations -- in essence hiding within the television spectrum so that the test device could not detect them.

Asked afterward whether the Federal Communications Commission, which had run the tests, had a role in their "rigging," Page stepped back.

"Broadcasters have been very active in this," he said.

He also called on the FCC to approve the unlicensed use of the white space before the November election and toward that end, his handlers said, he was meeting with most of the FCC commissioners today, as well as some members of Congress. The company's Free the AIrwaves campaign has also led 16,000 people to send letters to the FCC.

He also took the opportunity to pull out the new G1 phone, which is the first to use Google's Android software.

"The notion that a small device like this is going to interfere is just garbage," he said.

Shortly after Post I.T. blogged about Page's visit to Washington, Mark Brunner, Shure Inc.'s senior director, public and industry relations, contacted us with a response:

"The FCC's wireless microphone field tests were carefully planned and thoroughly executed based on sound engineering science and real-world operating scenarios. These tests were open to the public, and those who choose to discount the results -- which have not yet been published -- had every option to be present and to witness them for themselves."

By Peter Whoriskey  |  September 24, 2008; 4:03 PM ET
Previous: Lawmakers Caution FCC To Slow Down On Safety Auction Rules | Next: ISPs Promise: We Won't Track You without Permission


Add Post I.T. to Your Site
Stay on top of the latest Post I.T. news! This easy-to-use widget is simple to add to your own Web site and will update every time there's a new installment of Post I.T.
Get This Widget >>


Blogs That Reference This Entry

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/25080

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Update: Google Guy's Words Get Quick Response:

» Free the Airwaves, Free Puna and Free the Whales" from "Brent.fm • a technology mixdown
Okay, this post won’t be freeing any whales. Sorry. Dave has a good handle on this. But you will be freeing yourself. Do whatever you want with your free-self. We know Google already tried to give away wi-fi across many cities. The plan was stopp... read more »

Tracked on October 3, 2008 5:31 PM

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



i tend to believe google would do 100x a better job of federal communications oversight than the FCC. i tried to stop a harrassing and illegal automated dialer that kept calling me at work. within seconds in google i found 100s of other ppl complaining about the same phone number harrassing their businesses. to report them to the FCC was going to cost me filing fees, had to be in writing, and they needed tons of my personal information (and 1/2 hour on the phone w/ automated messages). i was so disheartened that i (a web master) couldn't figure out how to get the govt to stop the harassing caller. just give google what it wants you tax dollar-wasting, crony-heavy POS commission.

support google here:

http://www.freetheairwaves.com/takeAction.html

Posted by: jessewilsoncalifornia.com | September 25, 2008 1:21 AM

Free the airwaves, or give them to Google?

Posted by: Peter Wiant | September 25, 2008 1:38 AM

Google's bid to seize the airwaves ( along with controlling every the flow of info on the net ) will cost other industries, such as sports and entertainment, billions of dollars, rendering useless the myriad devices already occupying these "whitespaces". His comment about "this small device" not causing interference is laughable. I have been at more than one show where T-Mobile phones, in close proximty to audio equipment, have caused tremendous bursts of noise.

Posted by: Joe Fanelli | September 25, 2008 2:21 AM

Nigs please! Feedback in loudspeakers?? Like that should stop the entire population of the US and the world from having FREE access to the web of digital life with low cost devices!!
Ever heard a sonic boom in cali or florida? What is that a public nuisance not worth exploring space for?? Turn your brain on. If google wasnt run by rich libertarians who make money innocently enough(ads, search) who the hell would argue for your ass on capitol hill? Who of you would get jack done?

Posted by: Derridean | September 25, 2008 2:47 AM

Read the publication by the Wireless Innovation Alliance for technical details of the tests:

http://www.wirelessinnovationalliance.org/files/Myth%20vs%20Facts2.pdf

Posted by: D. Le | September 25, 2008 4:51 AM

The new Monopoly on the Block, Google, now claims the FCC tests were "rigged." I think the problem here isn't the FCC testing protocols, but Google's endless need to absorb any and every market, and when things don't go the way of the spoiled darling of Silicon Valley, well, it can't be that google is WRONG, it has be that the test was RIGGED. Grow up, little man.

Posted by: googlejerk | September 25, 2008 6:45 AM

Quote: "i tried to stop a harrassing and illegal automated dialer that kept calling me at work. within seconds in google i found 100s of other ppl complaining about the same phone number harrassing their businesses. to report them to the FCC was going to cost me filing fees, had to be in writing, and they needed tons of my personal information (and 1/2 hour on the phone w/ automated messages)."

So because you searched Google and other people had a similar problem as you means we should turn over regulatory duties to Google? Your argument is illogical. Certainly the government is not doing the best it can (I agree that you should not have to divulge so much information and that the solution to your problem should be more easily accessible), but the government is a slow moving, deliberate institution. The FCC cannot respond to 305 million Americans instantly when an issue arises, so there are systems in place to deal with individuals. That a Google search brought you information about how others suffered from your same problem is no guarantee Google (the company) could do any better.

I'm for government deregulation. Even in these turbulent times, I say let the markets work, and when they don't work, let them fail. But before we hand over the keys to the bureaucracy to the private sector, we have to realize what's at stake. Your suggestion that Google should regulate the airwaves instead of the FCC is pure and utter bollocks.

Posted by: driver guy | September 25, 2008 9:13 AM

GOOGLE fan-boys need to get a grip on the new Microsoft: Google.

Posted by: CHALESTOWN | September 25, 2008 9:28 AM

"I have been at more than one show where T-Mobile phones, in close proximty to audio equipment, have caused tremendous bursts of noise."

Mr. webmaster, this is not just tmobile but any gsm phone, its been this way for the last 10 years, learn how to shield your devices and you won't have a problem.

Posted by: benny | September 25, 2008 9:34 AM

While Google's near stranglehold on search and search related advertising scares the hell out of me as an internet marketer, I tend to believe Page for one simple reason: I've met and known many Google employees and they are hands down the cream of the crop of the world's workforce. That being said, Google needs to rebut the test results in detail, not just make conjectures at a senate hearing.

Posted by: Ryan | September 25, 2008 9:47 AM

Google is someone to talk about rigging.
I tried to Google Drudge while on vacation
and the first several sights were all the
anti-Drudge websites. How does that happen
to a very popular site without rigging?

Posted by: JanNelson | September 25, 2008 9:52 AM

The young owners of Google have had a nice ride and they are starting to feel the pinch that they thought they were above.

Welocme to life Google and for your wonderful graphics for American Holidays and your staunch support of our troops (NOT) and the troops that allow you to stomp the floor like spoiled brats when you dont get what you want.

Shelf life for you all, I predict another 5 years before some freshman in some University heaves you both from your self professed throwns.

Lovingly,

Seymour

Posted by: Seymour | September 25, 2008 10:08 AM

@jan - the rigging you are referring to is sometimes referred to as google bombing. Basically a group of people come together build a bunch of anchor text links to a site with specific anchor text to manipulate Google's results. A commonly referred to example of this is the "miserable failure" search on Google that brings up GWB.

Posted by: Ryan | September 25, 2008 10:09 AM

I know 3 guys up at google and they are far from cream of the crop. They are no better than any other developer, just driven with better stock options (right now). They are no better than M$ and they will crumble in time. They have become what they hate, evil.

Posted by: Greg | September 25, 2008 10:11 AM

To the Google Kool-Aid drinking NITWITS
and the rest of you.
What almost all of you do not realize, because you don't have knowledge of,is that concerts, houses of worship, theater, conventions, meetings, and festivals (to name a few)all use these frequencies for their wireless microphones, guitars, lighting and sound control, etc.
If Google gets it's way you will not only due unrepairable harm to the live event industry, but you can say goodbye to a lot of the events you currently enjoy because it will not be logistically possible to do them anymore.

Posted by: Live Events | September 25, 2008 10:18 AM

To the Google Kool-Aid drinking NITWITS
and the rest of you.
What almost all of you do not realize, because you don't have knowledge of,
is that concerts, houses of worship, theater, conventions, meetings, and festivals (to name a few) all use these frequencies for their wireless microphones, guitars, lighting and sound control, etc.
If Google gets it's way you will not only due unrepairable harm to the live event industry, but you can say goodbye to a lot of the events you currently enjoy because it will not be logistically possible to do them anymore.

Posted by: Live Events | September 25, 2008 10:21 AM

The airwaves belong to the people. Broadcasters merely lease them, they do not own them. The "white space" referred to is not trivial. For example, in Washington D.C., 29 available TV channels are unused. Far more channels are available in more sparsely populated areas, where broadband is expensive to deliver. Google is not acting alone, it is merely an outspoken member of the Wireless Innovation Alliance. which includes Microsoft, Dell, Motorola, and many other large companies. (http://www.wirelessinnovationalliance.org) Making better use of public airwaves would result in lower phone bills for everyone, even those who do not use Google services, simply because it would increase competition. The public would benefit greatly from open access. The only ones who have anything to lose are the vested interests who will never lower phone bills unless pressured to do so through competition.

Posted by: mike c | September 25, 2008 10:22 AM

At a time when increasing studies are showing that wireless techs are biologically harmful, this guy wants to bomb the airwaves with more toxic frequencies?

Google is foolish, and his comments are pathetic at best.

Posted by: Jeffo | September 25, 2008 10:32 AM

Why don't they pay for the frequencies like everyone else. Sprint is looking to unload the IDEN network. That might be an alternative to jepordizing the public TV airwaves. TV is an important lifeline for milliions of people. I think to err on the side of caution is warranted. The companies involved in this just want to bypass the current internet providers and build a captive audience.

Posted by: Greg G | September 25, 2008 10:34 AM

I think you need to think - New World Order is fast approaching. So yes, it's a definite posibility that the test were riggged.

What's one got to do with the other. Open your mind and take a look around at what is happening in the world of today.

Posted by: UCSD101 | September 25, 2008 10:39 AM

Google is run by a couple of meglom-maniacal whack jobs. The FCC needs to keep them out of ruining this.

BOYCOTT GOOGLE.

http://googlesucks.us/

http://www.googlesux.com/

Posted by: spencer | September 25, 2008 10:41 AM

Google is part of the New World Order, and it needs to be disbanded.


http://googlesucks.us/

Posted by: NWO | September 25, 2008 10:42 AM

I wouldn't trust google to clean my toilets, let alone be the gate-keepers to the airwaves. Good Grief People, use your head for something other than a hat rack.

Posted by: Ratt | September 25, 2008 10:44 AM

If there is any suggestion of impropriety in the testing procedures, something I think is very possible given the nature of the current lobbiest controlled administration I think the tests should be redone by an independent testing agency with additional oversight.

Seriously, how can anyone doubt the telco's wouldn't manipulate the results if it would benefit their bottom line?
I'm sure some the articles supporting them in this column were written by their paid hacks.

Posted by: Armand Gilbert | September 25, 2008 10:47 AM

A frequency might not be used locally, but in rural areas reception is sometimes only possible using long range antenna. One of these devices may not detect a frequency that may require a rooftop antenna to pick up. Also, no one has mentioned that FM radio frequencies lie among the TV frequencies as well. Are we seriously going to mess with possible FM interference?

Posted by: Greg G | September 25, 2008 10:48 AM

Seymour nailed it. When the censors find themselves censored, they won't think it very funny. In addition to the holidays issue and the total disrespect for our boys and girls in uniform, one of Google's first examples of censorship was to trample on the Second Amendment.

And don't forget; these who so vehemently (claim to) oppose censorship helped the Communist Chinese government continue to repress its citizens, by banning words like "freedom" and "self determination" and "Jesus".

I use Ask.com and never found a search I didn't like. There are alternatives to Google...use them, and don't be lazy.

Posted by: Dadron | September 25, 2008 10:56 AM


Sure Google doesn't play politics with their search.....it's all an algorithm that just happens to only fail in favor of liberals and democrats.

If you believe that then you must have studied mathematics at a public school under unionized teachers.

If they had a case on the tests then god knows they have enough engineers to bury the FCC in documented testing to prove it. If there was a theoretical basis for it they wold be pumping out peer reviewed papers to prove their case. Instead they whine and snivel in the best liberal manner claiming prejudice in the testing.

You bet there must be prejudice; much the way literacy tests are prejudiced against illiterates. Sob, how unfair.

Posted by: Arminius | September 25, 2008 11:01 AM

A previous poster wrote:

"To the Google Kool-Aid drinking NITWITS
and the rest of you.
What almost all of you do not realize, because you don't have knowledge of,
is that concerts, houses of worship, theater, conventions, meetings, and festivals (to name a few) all use these frequencies for their wireless microphones, guitars, lighting and sound control, etc.
If Google gets it's way you will not only due unrepairable harm to the live event industry, but you can say goodbye to a lot of the events you currently enjoy because it will not be logistically possible to do them anymore.

Posted by: Live Events | September 25, 2008 10:21 AM "

He is absolutely right. Some cellphones already interfere with audio devices, EVEN WHEN PROPERLY SHIELDED, which renders them useless. I've spent about $50,000 on a live sound system and all it takes is one person with a cell phone within 20 or 30 feet of the equipment racks to completely ruin the sound. The cell phones literally disable some of the devices.

If this problem gets any worse many people who have invested a lot of money in audio equipment are going to get screwed big time and audiences who go to shows are going to be quite unhappy when an extremely loud blast of digital noise comes through the speakers.

Google is getting greedy. They don't give a rats ass about those who they screw over on their journey to world data domination.


Posted by: Stephen | September 25, 2008 11:07 AM

I'll trust google ahead of the FCC and it's cronyism.

People who are relying on wireless to deliver sound in mission critical situations, like rock concerts, are just being ridiculous. If you can afford $50K for sound equipment, you can afford a few hundred bucks to pay a guy to wire your venue.

Posted by: Steve | September 25, 2008 11:17 AM

Don't believe the 'free' hype that Google is putting forward. Spectrum is only part of the cost of building a wireless network. The infrastructure (cell towers, backhaul data links, network management) is a large expense, if not the largest expense. Unless Google believes in magical airwaves coming out of the sky, they will have to build a physical network or lease space on an established network, to the tune of billions of dollars. So, you think a company is going to invest billions and give service away for free? The public would be better served by having Google buy this spectrum just like every other wireless company has done. The last spectrum auction pumped almost $20 Billion into the U.S. Treasury. Why would we, as taxpayers want to give this away for free when companies are always willing to buy this from us. Remember, we, as U.S. citizens own this spectrum and shouldn't support corporate welfare to Google by giving it away.

Posted by: Mythbuster | September 25, 2008 11:22 AM

Oh, it's so nice to see these boys not get their way for a change. LOLOLOLOL

Posted by: Andsie | September 25, 2008 11:24 AM

Google and Wikipedia are the roots Communist fascism in America. People of this country see a beautiful flower blooming, but not until this flower is touched will it's toxic poison be understood.

Posted by: Jayson | September 25, 2008 11:26 AM

I love all the idiots here who think they know what whitespace is. Dumb rednecks, go crawl back into your holes and let the intelligent people run the show. Thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:36 AM

Wait, Google and Wikipedia are beautiful apples and we are Eve!

Posted by: Jason Two | September 25, 2008 11:38 AM

Google helped build the internet into what you are typing on today and they have brought prosperity America. If you America-hating conservative hillbillies don't like it, then leave the country and don't come back. We don't want you or your inbred families here.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 11:43 AM

Anonymous, a cupa notes up yonder, bein so smarter then a redneck like me, musta gone to collage or sumthun. I cun see he dont have much tolerense fer me.

Posted by: Beuford | September 25, 2008 11:44 AM

All these Anonymous posters seem to be unable to restrain their true hatred and intolerance for the common American worker, Christian, heterosexual, law abiding citizen. Note how they call us inbred hillbillies and pretty much want us to leave their country or even die. This demonstrates the true face of Democrats today. I believe we will all see America and the world fall to socialism and communism in the near future.

Posted by: Alan Taylor | September 25, 2008 11:57 AM

All these Anonymous posters seem to be unable to restrain their true hatred and intolerance for the common American worker, Christian, heterosexual, law abiding citizen. Note how they call us inbred hillbillies and pretty much want us to leave their country or even die. This demonstrates the true face of Democrats today. I believe we will all see America and the world fall to socialism and communism in the near future.

Posted by: Alan Taylor | September 25, 2008 11:57 AM

Tolerance for idiocy is how America got into the place it is today. There was once a time when conservatives saw technological progress as a stepping stone to greatness for America. Now they celebrate mediocrity and oppose all progress out of some new-found, twisted sense of egalitarianism. They will only elect leaders who act like hicks like they do, they oppose higher education because they are not educated, they hate technology because they don't have access to the high-tech economy (because they hate all the "liberal" tech-centers). The only option left is for us to marginalize you and leave you behind.

Posted by: Dan | September 25, 2008 12:02 PM

Google is promising a smart device that will not cause interference with existing devices using the same white space. This is a good idea, unfortunately it's still vaporware at this point.

Something to point out is the devices they are trying displace play nicely with the broadcasters and other users of this piece of spectrum. The current generation of these devices, mostly wireless mics and intercoms, find the holes in the broadcast band and use them accordingly. Collisions can happen, especially in urban areas, and when they do the wireless device must accept the interference which renders it useless. This protects the airwaves so consumers can still receive TV broadcasts. The user of such a device at this point must find an available frequency or use a wired device.

In the field tests the current wireless mics worked as designed and did not cause trouble for local broadcasters. Unfortunately Google's whitespace devices walked all over the wireless mics.

We are talking about the public airwaves here. The Broadcasters, Entertainment industry, Churches, Educational institutions and other current users of the upper UHF band frequencies in question have been getting along just fine. Equipment designed for professional use is not cheap. The current users of the spectrum in question have a huge investment in properly designed and functioning equipment that needs to be protected.

Google's white space devices need to play nicely as well. The FCC should refuse approval of their whitespace devices until Google can prove they do no harm to the existing users of the public airwaves.

Posted by: bitmap | September 25, 2008 12:03 PM

Dan, you seem a little defensive. If you're referring to the threat to Democrats that Governor Palin poses this next election, I think you're paranoid. The election hasn't even happened yet and you're accusing more conservative thinkers of of being hicks. You seem to have a deep hatred for people who do not think like you. I'm sorry that we dont meet your standard. Maybe you should start a campaign to eliminate all conservative people by way of genocide.

Posted by: Alan Taylor | September 25, 2008 12:21 PM

Hey Anonymous, obviously you don't know squat about Redneck Arkansas Trailor Park Conservatives. They are some of the most Patriotic People in this country, the very ones who Volunteer for the Armed Services, the very ones who Protect your Freedom of Speech that allows you to insult everyone who does not agree with your Liberal Socialist Ideology. And, as far as, google building the Internet, that's ridiculous, there are Millions, literally Millions that do fine everyday with out even acknowledging that google exist. Oh yea, by the way, your Boy Obambi is going down like a Tornado in November.

Posted by: Ratt | September 25, 2008 12:24 PM

go google...your on the cusp of some great breakthroughs for the consumer......press on...

Posted by: richard@bonilla.com | September 25, 2008 12:27 PM

Many regions badly need broadband, a lot more then they badly need pitch-perfect wireless audio systems with absolutely no interferance.
America is quite behind in broadband distro, mostly thanks to the huge controll handed to the the ISPs. Wireless might well be a way to bi-pass that.

As long as the devices DO keep to reasonable small levels of interferance, the net benifit is good.

And please, lets stop all the silly google bashing here.
Google want an open-platform, they have been pushing this for some time.
Yes, they want more eyes for their adverts, but that arnt locking anyone in too any fixed system. If google dominates the world, it will be because people prefer their services. Not because they are the only option to use.

Heck, you can see this when installing Chrome.
It by default *assumes you want to keep your existing (microsoft) search engine as default*

Google are confident enough not to need underhand tricks.
They want everyone online, and thats of benifit to everyone.

". Why would we, as taxpayers want to give this away for free "

Dunno.
Why do you allow your govement to give your ISP's monopolies in certain regions?

Short term cash dosnt always give long term reasults.
Free, open, competition, is normaly the best way.

Posted by: darkflame | September 25, 2008 1:03 PM

Google is evil. To hell with the billionaire bastards.

Posted by: dave | September 25, 2008 1:28 PM

The white spaces or open internet is going to be critical in (3) crucial ways.

1) It will allow the knowledge workers of the United States to compete with the rest of the world by allowing American companies to move knowledge based jobs out of clogged cities into rural and suburban areas, which will lower the cost of doing knowledge-based work. This will bring the flat world to the United States.

2) This change will allow workers to telecommute from home thus improving the American homelife and stregthening family values.

3) The ability to telecommute will reduce our dependency on foreign oil and reduce our carbon emmissions.

Now, I work in the broadcast television industry and I deal with the devices that would be susceotible to this interference day in and day out, however I can see the writing on the wall.

The Open Internet created from White Spaces (802.22 data broadcasting for the techies out here) on Metropolitan Regional Access Networks is the Interstate Highway System of 21st Century.

Now we didn't say let's not build a highway system because there will be car accidents, but that is the argument the NAB is making.

My company is a member of the NAB, but we can see that the need for progress is greater and we are more than willing work with the Wireless Innovation Alliance to find a way to make this work for the benefit of the American people, who another poster commented are the owners of this spectrum.

Posted by: tv_techie | September 25, 2008 1:37 PM


Google is evil.

They have become the very thing they tried to avoid.

Posted by: reason | September 25, 2008 1:38 PM

If Google wants the "white space" between the airwaves then they should fork over the cash for licenses just like the rest of the broadcast industry has to.

As far as the tests being rigged, the Google guys are just complaining because they aren't getting their way. I have cell phones that play havoc with radio, a wireless keyboard that has signal problems every time my neighbor uses their automatic garage door and other interference issues. The claim that Google's use of the whitespace won't have any interference to nearby frequencies is highly questionable to me.

Posted by: Dave C 64 | September 25, 2008 1:46 PM

Dave C 64

I think there is a misunderstanding about how the White Spaces would work.

The spectrum we are referring to is unlicensed and should remain so.

Google, I realize is the boogeyman we all want to fear, but most of the Silicon Firms are behind this move and the New America foundation is leading the debate on capitol hill.

But to be fair...

Microsoft, Motorola, Dell, Apple (Steve Jobs wife is a board member of New America Foundation) as well as free speech groups and the state government of North Carolina see the need for the White Spaces.

This is not just a Google issue.

And to be honest, Google's hardware will not be our on-ramp to the Open Internet created by the White Spaces.

More likely, hardware producers like Motorola will be creating the on-ramps.

After you get on you are on the web.

Now does that benefit Google?

Of course. It allows unfettered access to their Google Apps products, search and advertising.

But let's all be clear...

After you're on this Open Internet, you can go and do anything you please and if you do not like Google, you do not have to visit their sites or use their products.

This is not Net Neutrailty, the right to access content or services will not be controlled by one company.

How else could Google and Microsoft get on the same page as Apple and the others if there was to be an advantage for Google?

Google is taking the lead in the debate and is catching flack for the other companies, but it is an essential debate and a thankless role to play.

I do not hold any stock in any of these companies and I am looking at this from the perspective of a member of the broadcast television technology community and as citizen interested in how we will compete with business overseas and I can see no better method for improving our competitive advantage than to keep working on White spaces.

Posted by: tv_techie | September 25, 2008 1:57 PM

Google has become Big Brother and needs to be reined in. They seek to pollute the new ditigal TV airwaves with devices that will cause interference and can be used to jam broadcast signals. Where's the anti-trust division when we need them?

Posted by: Outside the Box | September 25, 2008 1:58 PM

What has made America great is Capitalism. If you want socialism or communism go elsewhere - it exits in many forms in other Countries and they don't have millions of people in line to go there. Smarten up people and make your own decisions don't expect the government to do it for you. Unless of course your a democrat and and can't:-)

Posted by: Shawn | September 25, 2008 2:00 PM

Shawn you are right capitalism has built our country up. the Open Internet will do for data what the highways did for commercial trucking.

Creating an Open Internet from White Spaces would be a strong development for American business and if anyone reading this cares about how we compete for business after the recent issues with Wall Street should recognize that we can all run our business more effectively with the Open Internet created from White Spaces.

Posted by: tv_techie | September 25, 2008 2:08 PM


Ok so, let me see if I get this straight, google is trying to take the White Space for their own personal phone company that will track every number you call, every conversation you have, everyone in your address book, and how many times they called you, plus your GPS Position.

Is that Right ?

Posted by: Ratt | September 25, 2008 2:08 PM

@LiveEvents - the uses you point to are almost unilaterally illegal. You are not supposed to use those wireless mics without a license, and your church doesn't have one. Neither do any of the entertainers at your "live events". Nice try, though. Moron.

Posted by: yermom | September 25, 2008 2:18 PM

Google please Shut up, your competition is on its way and you know it, so stop trying to control everything. Google is beginning to look more and more Fascistic. Please just SHUT UP Google! Competition against Google is ever more necessary to stop this Monster before it eats up everything. By the way, Who watches Google? The Libertians, the Socialist, the Chinese, the Russians. Who! Take a guess!

Posted by: taekowndodad | September 25, 2008 2:18 PM

Ratt,

Google is only part of a number of companies attempting to create this Open Internet from White spaces.

I do not know eBay's position on White Spaces, but they own Skype, the most popular VOIP service out there.

In Europe you can have a VOIP mobile phone. White Spaces would allow you to have one int he United States.

If we create this open internet, there will be competition for existing telecoms, but this will dive the cost of telephony services down even further.

I also get the feeling of nervousness about the trackability of these systems since the mobile device to be used would contain GPS.

I agree, there is the reasonable concern that these devices could be used to track you or your behaviors.

But not to scare anyone out there, all of that is doable now.

We are not anonymous people when you own a regular cell phone you cast a trackable digital shadow.

If you fear 1984, we're already there.

But fear alone should not make us take a serious look at a potential opportunity.

Posted by: tv_techie | September 25, 2008 2:18 PM

Everyone here doesn't get it. The wireless phone companies have rigged the system to have to use their phones only on their airwaves. That is why we have crappy phones with proprietary software, that tries to milk more money out of you. My Verizon phone has the worst browser ever. In Europe, any phone works on any network and their phones are years ahead of ours. Everyone who has an Iphone but hates ATT should understand. Google is trying to open up the airwaves so that we can get the real web on our phones, with all kinds of cool features - allowing google, yahoo and ms to sell ads.

Posted by: Goony Goo Goo | September 25, 2008 2:48 PM

@yermom, you are correct. Many of these wireless microphones use frequencies which are not licensed for their exclusive use.

Wireless mics are considered secondary usage, which means there are no frequencies reserved solely for them. They share the UHF / VHF frequencies with TV & radio.

Read the fine print - "(1)This device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation."

This means that if the wireless microphone causes interference to any FCC licensed or government authorized service, the wireless microphone has no standing and must shut down or be repaired to protect the operation of the FCC licensed service.

For instance, if your wireless microphone interferes with your neighbor's volunteer fire department radio, you have the responsibility to shut down your wireless microphone or take steps to prevent it from causing the interference.

His radio has priority over your wireless microphone. He has no obligation to do anything. The burden is on you.

Similarily if his FCC licensed volunteer fire department radio blows away your wireless microphone when he talks on it, he has no responsibility to do anything about it. It is totally your burden.

A cellphone is an FCC licensed use - if it interferes with a wireless microphone - TOO BAD - the telephone take precedence over the microphone.

Lots of consumer electronics products have this statement on them. Check your VCR and DVR and DVD player. They will all have this statement on them.

How do I know this? I googled it!

It's all about the greater good - who benefits society more:

Unlicensed wireless microphone users or licensed wireless internet users?

Posted by: vaporland | September 25, 2008 2:57 PM

So a software person declares that there will be no interference and because this person is from Google and has a vested financial interest in the outcome and has no knowledge of radio theory we should believe him. I don’t think so. If Google wants air space why don’t they license it like all the other telecoms. The airspace is a public resource that the FCC is supposed to license to collect revenue. No private company should be permitted to make money utilizing public airspace without paying for a license.

Posted by: Duh | September 25, 2008 3:26 PM

I call it Jewgle. Cramer says buy!

Posted by: Flobama | September 25, 2008 3:48 PM

I work in the entertainment industry and I have experienced first hand the kind of interference that a handheld wireless device or cell phone can emit during a concert or church service. It happens a lot. If Google gets their hands on this whitespace, then wireless devices will cease to exsist. Because Google will own the airwaves, they will want wireless microphone users to pay them for a liscence, which will make all but the top production companies stop using devices because it will be too expensive to buy the liscence. Wait until lawmakers try to use their wireless mics on the hill and they are informed that they no longer work because they have to pay Google $$$ to use them.

Posted by: Stretch20 | September 25, 2008 4:18 PM

And you want the government to take over the financial organizations and health care? More of the same!

Posted by: Dave | September 25, 2008 5:05 PM

This isn't the first government test with the receiver frequency was opaque to the transmitter frequency. I encountered the same thing troubleshooting DOD lasers 25 years ago. Government incompetence - the one constant in all our lives.

Posted by: Woody | September 25, 2008 5:14 PM

Vaporland, all evil is done in the name of the 'greater good'. Maybe the 'greater good' of the future will have you, your bedroom, your kids, your pets and your mom monitored just to make sure you don't do anything that might compromise the 'greater good'. Does short sight benefit your 'greater good?'

Posted by: Alan Taylor | September 25, 2008 5:21 PM

How much will Google be paying for this bandwidth? When frequencies became available years ago they were auctioned. Does Google want something for free that others paid for? I do believe Google can afford to buy whatever bandwidith they need.

Posted by: Kevin | September 25, 2008 6:47 PM

Wait... The private sector can do a better job than the government!??!?

Get outta here! Who knew? The government has always been so awesome at everything.

Posted by: Balsac T. Bagher | September 25, 2008 6:59 PM

Obviously, the FCC is in the back pocket of "interest groups" and this doesn't include Google. Freeing up the airwaves so the public can use them would benefit the public not the "interest groups" and therefore, probably, won't happen. Remember money from "special interest groups" always trumps the public - the public be damned is their motto!

Posted by: Ed | September 25, 2008 7:09 PM

The wireless broadband people are up against a lot of vested interests in telecom. Probably a lot of the anti-Google posters here either work for a telecom or are being funded through fake grass-roots advertising. It's hard to otherwise argue against inexpensive, universal broadband.

Posted by: jsanchez | September 25, 2008 7:47 PM

If Google is for it, I am against it. That company is nothing but pure evil.

Posted by: Jim | September 25, 2008 7:48 PM

Wow, Google is using the same counter-arguments to the (mostly bogus) "interference threat" that the low-power-broadcasting community has over the past 30 years.

The difference? The FCC will eventually rub the salt out of their eyes, check the stock values of the disparate players and hand the frequencies over to Google et al.

Can't say I would be unhappy.

Posted by: epsas | September 25, 2008 8:03 PM

You all realize that Google isn't trying to take these frequencies for itself right? I mean, they just want *anybody* to be able to use them.

People that own spectrum don't want to see this happen because then their slice of the "finite real estate of the ether" becomes less valuable.

Really, how can anyone not be fore Google's cause ... it will help ALL CONSUMERS.

Posted by: capitalkid | September 25, 2008 8:14 PM

Geezus.

Now there are FCC fanboys complaining about Google fanboys? Google is the next Microsoft? Apple is evil? Linux on the desktop?

I'm sick and tired of the technology business. I'm going to go start a farm.

Posted by: SickOfYouAll | September 25, 2008 9:27 PM

Time is a game played beautifully by children.

Posted by: Epictetus | September 25, 2008 9:33 PM

I'm over Google. They're spying on everyone, and now want to use public airwaves to do it.

Sergey, you going to send someone to my house tomorrow and shut me up?

Posted by: Mary | September 25, 2008 9:50 PM

google's tentacles are reaching into every area of our lives and collecting massive amounts of information about us. if it were the government, everybody would be screaming their heads off, but it's just fine if a private company does it ? ever tried to get google software off your computer ? it's damned near impossible. so now we should hand them the airwaves ?! i don't think so.

Posted by: el polacko | September 25, 2008 9:55 PM

How is it that people don't trust google but yet trust the television broadcasters. They're both businesses, dont trust either one. Personally I trust the TV people less as they're the ones with the upper hand.

Posted by: Ipsos | September 25, 2008 9:56 PM

The part of this discussion that is missing is the fact that 'as installed' 95% of the wireless microphones being discussed are illegally squatting on these frequencies. The audio industry has known about this problem for 20+ years. Why should we stifle progress for a 20 year old basically illegal design?

The audio industry need to look ahead and embrace the packet switched future as the phone companies have. A single 54mbps data access point has the data capacity to run all the wireless microphones for any Broadway show (256kbps per mic for 'cd quality’). This testing is all an weak excuse to protect existing wireless monopolies (mostly the phone carriers).

I speak from both professional audio and data networking experience.

Posted by: Patrick Coughlin | September 25, 2008 10:02 PM

It's scary how many comments here seem planted by telecom reps. I would assume it's more in the public's interest to have widely accessible broadband than to cater to a small minority's microphones.

Posted by: Aaron | September 25, 2008 10:21 PM

Holy crap. It seems like most of you didn't read anything pertaining to this subject, and just saw "Google" and "airwaves" and assumed Google was going to steal all broadcast frequencies. They want to OPEN unused frequencies for PUBLIC use. I suppose to you naysayers, that's just a euphemism for Communism. Communism is bad, because Commies don't have Nascar, am I right?

"an algorithm that just happens to only fail in favor of liberals and democrats" Who says it fails? Could it be that a majority of people don't hold your same distorted world view? Nah.

"all it takes is one person with a cell phone within 20 or 30 feet of the equipment racks to completely ruin the sound" Do television stations have the same effect? No, because GSM is in the audible frequency, which is why you can HEAR the sound of the device communicating in audio equipment. That's a failing of the FCC to allocate a frequency for widespread use that would cause that much interference, not wireless carriers.

"Google and Wikipedia are the roots Communist fascism in America." Anything run by the public is Communist? I suppose if you believe altruism, charity, and public good are Communist ideals, there's no arguing with that kind of logic.

"go crawl back into your holes and let the intelligent people run the show." I agree. At least inform yourselves before spouting off the first thing that comes into your head.

Posted by: Michael | September 25, 2008 11:00 PM

ok, google's bad. what are you brainthrusts suggesting we do use?

that might be a little more helpful.

Posted by: orca | September 25, 2008 11:51 PM

Wow, so much mis-information, so little time. These frequencies are now free for wireless systems to broadcast at low power levels (30-50mW) Please look at the facts, Google, Microsoft, and all of the other Internet technology companies are trying to BUY the frequencies. They then want to License use of the frequencies to the ISP's. The 3 major "free the airways" type of LOBBYING groups are funded and chaired by executives of the Internet technologies companies. What really upsets me is there were numerous tests done by both independent companies, the FCC, and wireless companies and ALL tests failed. I want to know why wasn't Google or any of the others present at ANY of the tests. Why is it not known that Google and others are bidding on OWNING the frequencies? How is that "freeing" the airwaves?

Posted by: mcrane | September 25, 2008 11:56 PM

Packet Switched data for LIVE audio? Really, the delay between the singer and the monitors on stage or in-ears is going to make singing a WHOLE lot of fun. What happens when the packets get dropped? Oh yeah NO AUDIO - cue staring at the FOH mixer - who hasn't done anything wrong.

Packet switched works fine when two parties can't see each other's mouth - or need to monitor themselves. Why doesn't the public safety sector put that to better use instead - and leave packet switched where it makes sense - long haul.

A typical NFL football game has in use hundreds on coordinated wireless users - Ref. mics, security radios, coach comms, TV comms, TV local uplinks, satellite uplinks, IFB (earpieces that announces can hear things), production radio, talent wireless mics, talent wireless In-ear monitors...

And there are limits to how close these channels can be - based upon deviation[bandwidth], intermodulation [from duets], etc. RF is NOT like the internet where lots of system can share things - it is mutually exclusive. [one small exception is CDMA - which works well because the handsets are generally reasonably far away from the towers].


To the poster who mentioned that rock concerts should be hard wired - fine enjoy Aerosmith standing still behind a microphone.

People expect more - are used to freedom and stages free from long cables. In-ear monitoring has done wonders to reduce "stage wash" to bring better sound to the masses - and yet everyone expects that tens of thousands of dollars of wireless gear will be fine to just throw away.

For "free" internet. Right - I ink Google, but expecting a wireless tower that broadcast broadband internet to know that I've just switched on a microphone a mile away - isn't going to happen. You should see what DTV has done to the spectrum...

Why re-invent the wheel - find a way to work with the cell carriers to reduce the internet packages and give them broader bandwidth.

Posted by: Jason | September 26, 2008 12:28 AM

Lots of Google-hating posts, but it looks like just one or two semi-literate posters are responsible for it all.

Personally, I believe Page when he says the tests were rigged. Not that I think he's a saint or anything, just that I find it consistent with the swindling of the US people which has now reached a wild peak with our current administration.

Frankly, if you can't see that in this one particular case at least, what's good for Google is good for the people, then maybe you need to educate yourself on the real issues regarding wireless network access.
The working people of this country deserve a lot better than we are ever going to get from the likes ATT and Verizon. You do know that those are the guys who got fat double-dipping -- corporate welfare plus fleecing consumers. A stand against Google on this issue is just bending over for the Telcos and crying, "Please, sir, may I have another?".

Don't be brainwashed!

Posted by: e.c.sharpe | September 26, 2008 12:48 AM

The FCC is a political creature with the commissioners appointed by the President and approved by Congress. While the FCC certainly has the technical competency, the political pressures sometimes get in the way of accurate determinations of the viability of a new proposal.

Take the FCC's recent support for sending digital information, called BPL, over the powerlines using already licensed radio frequencies that are in use all over the U.S. This would have caused all sorts of grief to any number of licensed radio users nationwide.

Any time you energise an open wire system such as a powerline with radio frequency energy, some of it is going to radiate off the wires into space. If the frequency being sent down the powerline is the same as one that someone already licensed is using, it will cause endless interferance to that user.

The ARRL (Amatuer Radio Relay League) group fought a long court battle against the FCC recently and won their case against the FCC's proposal to allow harmful BPL implimentation.

The idea that low power radio transmitters would not cause interferance to other services (TV,FM, etc.) all depends on how far they are located from the other radio receivers. Greedy developers of these low power systems are eyeing all sorts of already in use radio frequencies to be polluted with noisey digital signals and the motive is for their selfish profit.

There is only so much of the radio spectrum available and the "johney come latelys" (Google and others) are hungerly eyeing these already in use radio frequencies for their own use. Google is one of those hungery entities wanting to devour the frequencies of other already licensed users of these radio frequencies for their own business profit purposes.

Like they say, "Follow the money trail" and you will find out who is responsible for bringing these proposals for stealing the licensed frequencies from others.

Googles proposal was to transmit radio frequency digitaly modulated signals over the air using frequencies that exist between the assigned frequency channels. This small unused frequency space, is maintained there to keep any two radio, or TV channels from interfering with each other at the receiving end of the circuit. This is just good engineering practice and extremely bad political practice by technically uneducated people who don't really know the reasons why certain things are done that way.

This proposal, and others just like it, would have been like allowing vehicle traffic to drive straddling the yellow lines in the center of the road because most people don't actually drive in that space and the space seems to be going to waste. How would you like to have to dodge idiots attempting to drive that way, and in both directions?

The suggestion that maybe Google should be doing the work the FCC is supposed to be doing? That would be like having burgulars watching your cash register during the night. That's a dumb, stupid, and foolish concept, or idea for anyone to ever suggest! Bah Humbug!!!

Posted by: Russ | September 26, 2008 1:20 AM

Jason got it right.

Air wave can be compared to peoples talking to each other:
When you are 10 in a room but everyone keep the volume down you can all speak at the same time and still understand your correspondent but if some one is talking in a P.A. at maximum volume you will have a hard time to understand your correspondent because of the interference from the guy using the P.A. (this is a example of overcrowded band)

Currently we have a bunch of devices in the actual and adjacent band created for short range communication. The project Google represent plan to get the rural peoples connected, this is a long link that can not be achieved on low power. Also please keep in mind internet require both side to talk to each other. You will end up like the 2.4 band over crowded and as a bonus a bunch of super users using X 100 more power then you.

The best part in all this is they try to get the band for free and they will sell you the hardware / software and service later on, nice way to get you pay twice.

Posted by: Pape | September 26, 2008 2:47 AM

Wow, the telecom paid astroturf is three feet deep on here.

I wonder how much they would pay me to write Google-is-evil posts and to rant against public access to these frequencies.

Posted by: Alsee | September 26, 2008 4:02 AM

We should not rest until every last Google owner, employee, and stockholder is dead.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 5:35 AM

Larry Page has completely lost touch with reality apparently. The frequency allocations work very well for the public. What he wants to do is to his product's benefit at the expense of the rest of the public.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2008 8:08 AM

After reading through the Wireless Innovation Alliance response (thanks D. Le for the link), this is scary stuff. I envision a market saturated with these devices will add significantly to the noise floor, potentially crippling transmissions anywhere near the these "white space" frequencies.

Additionally, this technology relies on sniffer capability to determine the presence of the existing spectrum activity. What happens when this malfunctions; even a 1% failure rate, at the proposed saturation levels would be devastating.

Finally, wireless microphone usage for stadium events are employed by licensed engineers with equipment capable of analyzing the spectrum. It is a travesty to equivocate this activity to a person surfing online at a Starbucks.

Posted by: Glen Smith | September 26, 2008 8:36 AM

Posted: 'll trust google ahead of the FCC and it's cronyism.

People who are relying on wireless to deliver sound in mission critical situations, like rock concerts, are just being ridiculous. If you can afford $50K for sound equipment, you can afford a few hundred bucks to pay a guy to wire your venue.

GOOD IDEA GENIUS! WE'LL JUST HAVE THE REFEREES AS WELL AS THE PLAYERS AT, LETS SAY AN NFL GAME, DRAG AROUND A FEW HUNDRED FEET OF CABLE EACH, SINCE ALL OF THEIR WIRELESS MICS HAVE BEEN RENDERED USELESS.

Posted by: soundguy | September 26, 2008 9:18 AM

" Wait... The private sector can do a better job than the government!??!?

Get outta here! Who knew? The government has always been so awesome at everything."

Been out of touch with the news in recent weeks have we?

Over the last couple of decades the the government has become basically a branch office of the private sector. (Or is it the other way around? Lately it's getting really hard to tell who owns who). But either way it a major reason we find ourselves in the mess we are today.

And not coincidentally, in terms of performance, that is also why right now they both pretty much suck.

Posted by: LaserSight | September 26, 2008 9:37 AM

FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD, FUD

Posted by: FUD | September 26, 2008 12:26 PM

Huh? Why the childish google hate. These are public airwaves. We control them. Way to many people here place their trust in the FCC who has show time and time again that their control of our public airwaves has gone to the highest money bidder. The FCC has shown it's no longer about us, it's about profit and donations and lobbyist. No one would argue about the regular people of our country from using the airwaves to setup up community and even country wide linked networks since the people own the airwaves to begin with. The FCC doesn't see it that way! They want to sell your rights to open frequencies to large profit minded corporations and then have them charge the life out of you for something that is your inherent right. Not only will a corporation charge you for it, but they will sensor and audit everything to do when it's gets in their way of maximizing profit. How will that ever be right?
That is what this is all about. The control of the airwaves and enablement of the people to use freely what is rightfully ours. You have telecommunications monopolies who have shown fierce resistance to fair and selective service to their customers all the while producing incredible, incredible profits. Ask yourself. Do corporations control this country or do you. Let Google have a chance. They have the open airwaves part right at least.

Posted by: RayR | September 26, 2008 1:26 PM

I wonder how much google will paye me for saying the airwares belong to the public give it to google for free or go cry to the congress ?

Posted by: Pape | September 26, 2008 8:46 PM

It is obvious that most of you who are crying foul regarding Googles suggestion know nothing about RF radio technology, Googles ultimate push, and cell phone technology. The FCC wants big cash for anything they open up to the market. Google is suggesting that the airspace becomes accessible and free to all. (Just like the airspace on your wireless PC, the microwave you enjoy, you cordless home phones, etc.) It opens the market for all. Cell phones operate in totally different frequencies and use different radio technology. If you are catching interference on a wireless audio sound system then you apparently bought junk radios. That should never happen. Finally. It is out of your control. Wireless will dominate our communication media. It is inevitable. You can figure out how to seize an opportunity here or cry about unfairness. It is beyond you control.

Posted by: Steve in NW Indiana | September 29, 2008 6:37 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company