The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week said he supported the use of empty portions of the television broadcasting spectrum — known as “white spaces” — for unlicensed wireless use. The spectrum could be used to cheaply connect underserved communities to Internet. A FCC report issued this week supported the use of wireless devices that could access these white spaces.
Broadcasters opposed the FCC’s findings, saying the use of whites spaces by unlicensed wireless devices will harm TV reception. The whites spaces are parts of the current television broadcast spectrum that will become available after broadcasts go digital in 2009.
Microsoft, Google, Dell and rural Internet advocates have urged the FCC to open these whites spaces to wireless devices. They say the white spaces could be used to provide rural community Internet access, improve emergency response communications and offer advanced broadband capabilities to mobile device users.