Feeds

FCC raises eyebrow at Google 'white-space' play

Don't you back neutrality?

High performance access to file storage

US Federal Communications Commission commissioner Robert McDowell has raised an eyebrow at Google's request to serve as an administrator of a national database detailing the use of "white-space" spectrum, Mountain View's latest effort to accelerate the deployment of unlicensed broadband devices in the unused TV airwaves.

During an appearance earlier this week on CSPAN, McDowell was asked if someone with a business interest in the TV white spaces - i.e. Google - should administer a database meant to protect the interest TV stations and other users already using adjacent airwaves.

"That's an excellent point. It's something that still needs to be examined," he said. "Historically, the administration of phone numbers... that has been administrated by a neutral third party, by someone that does not have business interests."

Google was among a coalition of tech outfits that first floated the idea of allowing unlicensed WiFi-esque devices into the white spaces, portions of the licensed television spectrum that go unused by terrestrial TV channels. The FCC approved the plan in November 2008, after heavy lobbying from Google, strange bedfellow Microsoft, and other big tech names - and heavy opposition from those already in the TV spectrum, including television broadcasters and wireless mic users.

To protect existing broadcasters, FCC mandated the creation of a geolocation database that details what spectrum is in use and where. The idea is that unlicensed broadband devices will tap this database before sending or receiving data, using the info in tandem with spectrum sensing technologies to avoid interference.

In February 2009, Google joined Comsearch, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Motorola, and Neustar to form the White Spaces Database Working Group (WSDG), an effort to build such a database. At the time, Google said it did not intend to serve as a database administrator. "We don't plan to become a database administrator ourselves, but do want to work with the FCC to make sure that a white spaces database gets up and running," wrote Google counsel Richard Whitt in a blog post. "We hope that this will unfold in a matter of months, not years."

But nearly a year on, Google has changed its mind. With a Monday blog post, Whitt announced that the company had asked to FCC to name it as an administrator. "Today, we took another step towards making 'Wi-Fi on steroids' a reality for consumers. In a submission to the FCC, we're asking the Commission to designate Google as one of potentially several administrators of a white spaces geolocation database," he said.

"Why are we offering to do this? We continue to be big believers in the potential for this spectrum to revolutionize wireless broadband, and we think it's important for us to step forward and offer our assistance to make that vision a reality. Since launching the White Spaces Database Group last February, we've been working with other stakeholders to exchange ideas and perspectives on how to best operate a working database, and we believe we're in a strong position to build and successfully manage one.

"We propose to build a database that is publicly accessible and searchable, so that any individual could access and review the data," Whitt wrote ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.