The Auction That Could Free the Internet

The Auction That Could Free the Internet

When the country transitions to digital TV in 2009, it'll free up the valuable 700 MHz band of spectrum that's currently being used for analog TV signals. The FCC is going to auction this spectrum off, and the rules of the auction – including the size of the slices and who can buy how many – will determine whose hands the spectrum ends up in. This particular type of signal it travels farther and more efficiently than WiFi. It would be ideal for setting up a nationwide broadband Internet provider to compete with the ISPs, unless it ends up owned by that same handful of telecommunications providers who now control cable and broadband access.

A number of public-interested folks are clamoring for the FCC to reserve at least a chunk of the spectrum to be auctioned under “open access” rules, which would require the airwaves to be accessible to anyone (to lease) and any device (capable of accessing them), much the same way telephone lines operate. This could majorly upset the current telecom market, and is the only free spectrum which may come up for decades, so it's worth paying attention to – and even writing your congresscritter. It's no understatement to say this auction will determine the future of innovation in the telecom industry.

 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Jurvetson.

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vaemor

That sounds great (if it opens up to the internet). But how fast would the connection possibly be you think? If it could beat dsl, a lot of people would definitely would buy into it; given people want more speed - but many live outside a city and/or too rural to get cable..

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elburro

At least as long as it offers decent speeds it sounds like it could at least get internet access to a lot of people that can't get it now. Although I'm sure the big companies will get it and it will probably be closed off.

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