A new form of wireless network known as White Spaces will come online next month, the FCC announced today.
White Spaces has been called "WiFi on steroids" and has been championed by the likes of Google and Microsoft.
Spectrum Bridge has been given the OK to become the first active White Spaces database administrator. The FCC says it can begin operations on January 26. The first approved device will be made by Koos Technical Services, and it will work much like a wireless router.
The downside is it will only be available in Wilmington, NC. The FCC is working on expanding approvals nationwide as fast as its little government fingers let it, although it didn't say when that might be.
White spaces brings with it tons of potential for new devices and applications. It is faster than WiFi so it can handle more data. It can bring (nearly) free Internet access to the most remote areas of the country, places that can't get WiFi.
It can aid in education. It can improve medicine. It can even make your favorite team win on Sundays (well, maybe not).
Because it uses broadcast television signals, any place that can pick up a broadcast TV signal should be able to tap into White Spaces. A large range of wireless frequencies have always been reserved for broadcast television, much of it unused. Researchers at Microsoft, Google, Dell and other companies, like Spectrum Bridge, developed methods to let data devices like PCs use those blank frequencies.
But when they first showcased their research, broadcasters weren't happy. They argued that TV Band Devices (TVBDs) would interfere with television signals. Years of bickering ensued between the broadcast companies, device makers like Microsoft and Google and the FCC. Many iterations of devices were built and tested. The data folks officially won in late 2010 when the FCC said it would allow TVBDs.
But there was a catch.
Before millions of devices could be sold and put into use, TVBDs needed a way to make sure they wouldn't knock out any TV stations. The FCC decided a complex database was the solution. This would keep track of TVBDs and assign them safe frequencies.
Such a database would in turn need “database administrators.” Earlier this year, the FCC selected nine companies to do the job -- all that applied -- including Google and Spectrum Bridge. They would be allowed to charge a small fee for their efforts.
After Google was accepted, Microsoft applied. And the FCC said, sure, why not? It let Microsoft be a database administrator, too.
But the real money will be in devices and applications for those devices, perhaps billions of dollars worth.
In a written statement, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, "Unleashing white spaces spectrum has the potential to exceed even the many billions of dollars in economic benefit from Wi-Fi, the last significant release of unlicensed spectrum, and drive private investment and job creation.”
One database and one device in one city does not a billion make. But it has to start somewhere.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-new-form-of-wifi-is-coming-and-its-good-news-for-many-americans-2011-12?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2Falleyinsider%2Fsilicon_alley_insider+%28Silicon+Alley+Insider%29#ixzz1hepaJB4I
yes, I have noticed an increase in the number of "Clear Internet" ads on the web also. They may be very successful at signing up new internet subs at $35 a month, I think it is a smart move on the company's part to market a plan like this.
The downside I see is the cost of the equipment seems on the high side. Think it was $300-400 for the equipment needed to make the connection work for Clear internet, the equipment was not free. At least that is a sustainable business model, giving away the equipment might get more subs, but at the expense of a healthy bottom-line financially.
Why can't they announce a DEAL with somebody (anybody, like MetroPCS, Leap, VZ, come on guys get a deal done NOW!)
Whats up...visited 7-8 sites since last post...4 have ads for Clear Spot ®...one was on CLWR msg board..one here
there were 6 on this one page last week
Galaxy S III Release Could Tie In With 2012 Olympics
I dont know when the last time I saw so many ads promoting a single device...there were 6 ads on this page alone....it is all over the web....,
In the meantime, Google isn't resting on its laurels--throwing its weight behind the campaign to secure public access to unlicensed white-space spectrum for broadband wireless services. It's clear Schmidt's assault on the wireless hierarchy is far from over.
Read more: 2. Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google - FierceWireless http://www.fiercewireless.com/special-reports/2-eric-schmidt-chairman-and-ceo-google#ixzz1l5D2xlfA
Wouldn't white spaces basically just expand the amount of bandwidth for wifi? I'm assuming the FCC is going to limit the power and range of these devices so you could only use it like how wifi is being used today....that is, no 5 mile radius wifi zones from one antenna, etc. So you couldn't replace your wireless carriers with free white spaces. If you could have really long ranges, in NYC it would be chaotic since so many people would be using in that it would be worthless.
That is old news: Since then there are no major suppliers approved to deliver devices that I know of. Google supports many pilots in an attempt to ignite the overall IP access environment.
WS is worth watching to see what develops. Like many new developments, be careful of getting caught up in the hype. If WS develops, it will take years, not months or quarters. It is like Wi-Fi in that it will be open to all to exploit. As such, it first has to develop outside of Clearwire because they cannot fund it and must wait for momentum to build similar to Wi-Fi. No major mobile operator is likely to fund development of WS because its open nature is at cross purposes. There are no multiple-mode handsets in development that I am aware. None of the essentials to launch of mainstream competition.
Could Google or a consortium such as Google, Intel, Microsoft, Philips, Samsung etc. step in to develop the devices, network equipment etc.? They could but they apparently aren't taking this seriously.
WS has potential despite its faults.. so its worth watching. Clearwire is way down on the list of companies I would look to for innovating.. too old school, too broke. However, this is something CW should not be spending limited funds and manpower.. they should wait for it to develop or not... unless someone else does the funding.
Why did Google buy Motorola Mobility?
It may seem like ages ago, but Google tried to become a telecom in a more direct and traditional fashion three years ago, bidding against AT&T, Deutsche Telekom and Verizon for the 700mhz spectrum for just this purpose.
When they lost, they said that they were going to pursue another route, Whitespace broadband.
Google is ready for Whitespace, because they've been one of the lobbyists and proponents of the technology for years. They're the ones that helpfully suggested, well, lobbied for the distributed geolocation databases as part of the standard. Once that was approved by the FCC, they unsurprisingly applied to be one of those databases.
After all, who runs the biggest, distributed geolocation database in the world?
FCC Appoints Google As 'White Space' Administrator - Forbes