Feeds

Free the airwaves, cries Google

FCC to consider petitions, analysis and dancing phones

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Google has launched another round in the PR battle over American white space, with a new website asking visitors to sign a petition to convince the FCC to allow unlicensed use of the spaces between TV channels.

This isn't the first website Google has set up to fight its corner. The Wireless Innovation Alliance was set up to present evidence that making use of the empty spectrum would not interfere with TV broadcasting, but this one looks much more like a grassroots protest than a slick media machine.

Not only are visitors asked to sign the petition, but in proper Web 2.0 style they're invited to upload YouTube videos of themselves expressing how important the issue is to them.

The problem with using the spaces between TV channels is that the available spectrum varies around the country, so devices have to avoid interfering with broadcasters who paid for exclusive access to the frequencies. Most of the demonstrations in this area are based on Detect and Avoid techniques, but those only work if the signal can be detected*, and repeated technical trails have failed to impress so far.

The alternative is to fit devices with GPS or similar, then include a database of frequencies to avoid by area. That would require devices to pick up a GPS signal before starting operation; difficult indoors, and could also lead to white space devices interfering with each other as they each believe the same spectrum is unused.

The current proposal is to use a combination of these techniques to provide the best avoidance possible, though the National Association of Broadcasters is having none of it - it's wheeled out some comedy animated mobile phones to illustrate the point for the hard of thinking.

The unregulated use of white space is a technical issue - either it will interfere with TV or it won't - but the proponents and their opposition have turned it into a political battle. Petitioning the FCC to allow unlicensed use of white space seems insane when the decision should rest on technical trials, not public opinion, but that's not stopping anyone from soliciting public support.

The FCC will vote on the matter in the next few months, hopefully basing their decision on sound technical analysis rather than populist petitions or dancing telephones. ®

*A transmitter behind a hill might be invisible to a white-space device, which will then broadcast on the same frequency and thus interfere with reception at a TV set that has line-of-sight to both.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.