FCC Votes to Allow "White Space" Access

In a unanimous 5-0 decision, the FCC late Tuesday approved public access to the "white spaces" of the wireless spectrum. "White space" in telecommunications refers to unused frequencies in the radio waves portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the FCC's decision followed months of lobbying by Google, Microsoft, and other Wireless Innovation Alliance (WIA) members for the measure and by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) against it.

The NAB has stated that using "white space" will cause interference with wireless devices of many types, such as wireless microphones and the like.We  certainly can see that possibility; one need only look at interference between devices we currently have in our homes now to see there is such a possibility. However, the WIA feels any such issues can be worked out, and that the advantages of "white space" use could be innumerable, and the FCC explicitly addressed wireless microphones in their statement (.PDF).
Wireless microphones will be protected in a variety of ways. The locations where wireless microphones are used, such as sporting venues and event and production facilities, can be registered in the data base and will be protected in the same way as other services. The Commission also has required that devices include the ability to listen to the airwaves to sense wireless microphones as an additional measure of protection for these devices.
Meanwhile, Jake Ward, a WIA spokesperson said:
"The full potential of white space technology has yet to be imagined, but with today's decision the FCC has given American's greatest innovators the resources they need to make it a reality for American consumers and our economy."
Don't expect any revolutionary new gadgets or services using "white space" any time soon. It's clear from the FCC statements that there will be plenty of development and plenty of necessary testing ahead. But who knows what ideas will see the light of day because of this vote?
Tags:  CES, FCC, space, access, White, AC