Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

FCC move to release White Spaces spectrum has tech firms dreaming of wireless boom

In the paper today

By Cecilia Kang
Sunday, September 12, 2010; 8:54 PM

Entire towns linked to the Web as giant hot spots with seamless wireless connections. Internet-connected refrigerators that monitor when it's time to get more milk and eggs.

High-tech firms and engineers are dreaming that the Federal Communication Commission's move to release "white spaces," or unused television channels, later this month will unleash another boom of mobile innovation.

Two decades ago, the FCC released similar airwaves to the public, but no one thought doing so would have much impact for consumers. They were wrong: That band of short-range radio waves spawned baby monitors, garage-door openers and thousands of WiFi hot spots at Starbucks, New York's Times Square and homes across the nation.

Now, the FCC is betting that another batch of unlicensed and better-quality airwaves will enable engineers to turn those frequencies into WiFi networks on steroids. The airwaves would connect longer distances and penetrate through concrete walls - allowing for stronger connections.

For a start, the regulatory move, generally supported by all five commissioners, could help alleviate pressure on overburdened mobile networks that have frustrated some smartphone users who deal with dropped calls and slow Web connections.

Calling the communications technology "super WiFi," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that private carriers are increasingly relying on WiFi hot spots in urban areas to pick up data traffic where their own networks are overburdened. AT&T, for example, has installed many more hot spots in Manhattan, where iPhone users have complained of slow Internet service.

The new waves can be helpful "as an off-load strategy for providers and users to help deal with the spectrum crunch," he said.

Read here for full story.

By Cecilia Kang  |  September 13, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Businesses ramp up fight against FCC Web rules
Next: Haystack stops tests of Iran anti-censor software amid security concerns

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company