Broadband News

FCC approve white space for use for 'Super Wi-Fi'

The FCC, the US spectrum regulator, yesterday approved the use of unused spectrum in between TV channels for use for what it calls "super Wi-Fi". The new rules would allow unlicensed used of some unused channels within the 470-698MHz range known as "white space" and it would expand the type of services that could be provided to mobile devices or to fixed locations. Specifically, this spectrum range is perfect for use by wireless broadband as the lower a frequency, the further the range the signal can travel.

"We know from experience that unlicensed spectrum can trigger unexpected but hugely beneficial innovation. For example, years ago, there was a band of low-quality spectrum that was lying fallow. Nobody could figure out what to do with this so-called 'junk band,' so the FCC decided to free it up as unlicensed spectrum. The result was a wave of new technologies – baby monitors, cordless phones, and eventually a real game changer: Wi-Fi. Today, Wi-Fi is a multi-billion industry and an essential part of the mobile ecosystem.

We know what the first major application will be: super Wi-Fi. Super Wi-Fi is what it sounds like: Wi-Fi, but with longer range, faster speeds, and more reliable connections. We can also expect, as we've seen now with Wi-Fi, enhanced performance from the mobile devices using licensed spectrum that we've come to rely on so heavily.

Julius Genachowski, (Chairman) FCC

Original proposals required users of the bandwidth to sense the available frequencies, and if other users such as using UHF TV service were found, the device would need to cease transmitting immediately. Instead, a real time database will be managed by the FCC to help identify other users of the spectrum and avoid interference.


But are we going to see white space Wi-Fi in the UK?

  • timmay
  • over 10 years ago

Now that the Labour government are gone and Ofcom, who they heavily padded out with their own people, are going onto a Quango bonfire we might. Previously they'd have likely just tried to sell the white space to feed the treasury money and justify the high salaries.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 10 years ago

UK - seems unlikely, there is less spectrum gap between stations and the geography of the US lends itself to use of short range inter-gap solutions.

The costs of the database and GPS integration in hardware may make the hardware costs less attractive than the idea.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 10 years ago

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