The FCC unanimously has approved details of a plan to bring “super Wi-Fi” to consumers. The FCC voted on the details to transfer so called “white spaces”, the spectrum between TV signals, to unlicensed spectrum that can be used for wireless broadband. This is the biggest release of spectrum in 25 years, and will allow the next generation wireless technologies to emerge.

The FCC first agreed to transfer the use of these white spaces after the digital TV transition during a November 2008 vote. Since then broadcasters and wireless microphone manufacturers fought implementation of the plan, complaining the use of white spaces for wireless broadband could cause interference.

Today, the FCC offered further details on ways to mitigate those complaints. TV stations and wireless microphones will register in a database as a protected service, and others seeking to use white spaces will have to check that database. The FCC said today that wireless microphone manufacturers will have to make their devices more efficient and will need to justify their spectrum requirements.

The following statement can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:

“This has been a long time coming and many companies and innovators will now be able to bring new applications and devices they have been researching and developing from the lab to the marketplace. We’re excited about what this will mean for rural broadband access, smart device technology, telemedicine and the next innovation that we cannot yet imagine.

“The FCC has chosen a future of broadband abundance instead of broadband scarcity. It stood up to lobbying by incumbent business models for spectrum use that would have held the nation in the past, and instead took a leap toward supporting the kind of innovation that will grow the economy.”

The following statement can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association Vice President Cathy Sloan:

“This is a step toward making wireless broadband ubiquitous on community college campuses, hospitals and more rural areas.

“The plan provides a balance between protecting existing users of these white spaces, while making sure that protections are not so great that there is no opportunity for wireless Internet customers to use white spaces in urban areas.

“We were pleased to hear Commissioner Copps say the database could be up and running in a few weeks. Launching without further delay is an important follow up to this FCC action.

“For consumers, the first app they are likely to see come out of today’s action is super WiFi – a wireless Internet connection that is stronger, faster and can go through walls.

“This is a concrete step that brings a portion of our national spectrum policy into the 21st Century, where it can contribute to innovation and economic growth.

“We applaud the commission for leaving the door open for the use of white spaces for licensed rural backhaul links, as more capacity and competition are sorely needed in that area.”

 

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