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FCC to vote on White Spaces rule that gives consumers Wi-Fi on steroids

White Spaces, known as Wi-Fi on steroids, could soon be accessed by consumers, if the Federal Communications Commission votes as planned later this month on a final policy to make that spectrum commercially available.

Google, Microsoft and other technology firms have lobbied the FCC to authorize the use of White Spaces – or unused television spectrum. Those airwaves travel long distances, can penetrate walls and are generally more robust than Wi-Fi hotspots.

The FCC said its five commissioners will vote at its Sept. 23 meeting on a proposed rule that would “create opportunities for investment and innovation in advanced Wi-Fi technologies and a variety of broadband services.”

The proposal has been generally supported by the commissioners, who see the use of unlicensed spectrum as a means to provide mobile broadband access for laptops, smart phones and other devices. After a vote, a database would be created that lists all the devices that connect to the airwaves. Google has proposed it administer such a database. The FCC would not oversee the database.

Former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin first approved the use of White Spaces two years ago and the FCC on September will vote on a final order. The National Association of Broadcasters has fought against the proposed order, arguing the use of those television airwaves, even though unused, could cause interference for broadcasters.

By Cecilia Kang  |  September 2, 2010; 3:25 PM ET
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What is the purpose of the "database of all devices that connect to the airwaves"?

Posted by: lquarton | September 4, 2010 4:53 AM | Report abuse

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