The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to finalize rules that will enable the use of TV white spaces to provide wireless broadband connectivity.
According to the FCC, this is the first significant block of spectrum made available for unlicensed use in more than 20 years.
TV white space spectrum is considered prime real estate because its signals travel well, making it ideally suited for mobile wireless devices. "Unlocking this valuable spectrum will open the doors for new industries to arise, create American jobs, and fuel new investment and innovation," according to a statement issued by the FCC.
The FCC ruling eliminates the requirement that TV-bands devices that incorporate geolocation and database access must also include sensing technology to detect the signals of TV stations and low-power auxiliary service stations (wireless microphones).
“As more people access information via mobile and other intelligent devices, additional strain is being put on existing wireless networks," said Craig Mundie, Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer. “Microsoft appreciates the hard work by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the other FCC Commissioners and Congress leading up to this vote. Their action will deliver greater broadband connectivity to consumers, and promote growth and investment in a new generation of wireless broadband technologies."
"With this vote, the commission is taking a forward-looking view of how to optimize spectrum allocation by capitalizing on evolving technologies. As a result, technology companies will be able to develop new applications that tap into the potential of white spaces networks. On Microsoft's own campus in Redmond, Washington, a prototype 'White-Fi' system delivers more economical broadband Internet access for employees traveling between buildings on the campus. The FCC's decision will create opportunities for American companies to remain at the forefront of technological innovation," Mundie said.