The FCC may allow unlicensed use of “white spaces” in the UHF spectrum.
From the post:
“Two new bills want to open up this spectrum up.
- The Wireless Innovation Act, introduced by Senators George Allen (R-VA) and John Kerry (D-MA), directs the FCC to set up rules that would enable unlicensed use of the spectrum between 54Mhz and 698Mhz by the end of the year. The goal of the WINN Act is to increase broadband use rates, especially in rural areas, by making it easier to provide more kinds of Internet service.
“Making this technology available in all corners of our country is good for our families, demonstrates the spirit of American innovation and promotes our success in the global economy,” said Kerry in a statement. “
- The competing American Broadband for Communities Act (ABC Act) was introduced by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and looks quite similar to the WINN Act, but with different open frequencies, according to the ArsTechnica article. It also directs the FCC to open up “any unused broadcast television spectrum in the band between 72 and 698 megaHertz” which “may be used by unlicensed devices, including wireless broadband devices.”
“The New America Foundation (pdf) probably has the most spirited and detailed defense of the unlicensed use of the UHF band. Realistically, the U.S. government seems unlikely to forgo the billions in revenue from licensed 700 Mhz users. What is being discussed is how to utilize the spectrum more efficiently.
Forbes estimates that the digital switchover will help the electronics business move $75 billion worth of product in the next three years. Currently, only about 20% of Americans are capable of receiving a digital signal, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. The feds have earmarked $1.5 billion to be distributed among the 21 million families who still have analog sets so they can buy digital tuners. Each family will receive up to two $40 vouchers, to be distributed through the Commerce Department.”