Why the war for the White Space matters

I have been following the White Space debate for a long time (2/23/06), in large part due to the reporting of Sam Churchill at Daily Wireless.  Recently the gains made in releasing the White Space for unlicensed use came under fire from industry pressure. Through legislative maneuvering, the telcos are attempting to put barriers up so that the spectrum can’t be used for its intended purpose.

From Daily Wireless:

Wi-Fi, over the last 10-15 years, has become a world-wide, mass-market phenomena. The reason is simple — it’s free. Unlicensed. The future of “free” WiFi may be at risk, however, with cellular operators teaming up with governments to kill the next big thing in WiFi — White Spaces — using unused TV channels.

The FCC ruling that opened up white space spectrum (pdf and full report) originally proposed free, unlicensed spectrum, like WiFi. But a Republican proposal would require unlicensed spectrum be auctioned (pdf), drawing some fire, although broadcasters get a free ride. All others pay.”

Why does this matter?

“A free market is a mass market…and white spaces are all about free. One AP could cover several blocks. They’re slow but cheap. White spaces may be THE digital divide solution.

Eliminating license-free, “white space” broadband would be criminal. WiFi has become a $5-$10 billion dollar business. A government licensed duopoly, primarily interested in money and power, IS the problem. Free broadband enables local newspapers and magazines to thrive. It stimulates economies. Informs citizens.”

Sam’s solution:

The White Space issue is really like the original internet, its a huge opportunity to create universal value and foster the growth of innovation.  Listen to this

About Daniel Davenport

Daniel is a digital media executive with internet and broadcast experience. Daniel is currently the executive strategy director at THINK Interactive.

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