FCC Approves "Super Wi-Fi" on TV Frequencies, Microsoft Applauds

Paul Lilly

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday approved a set of new rules for using the unused broadcast spectrum between television, otherwise known as "white space."

"As compared to the airwaves we released for unlicensed use in 1985, this 'white spaces' spectrum is far more robust -- traveling longer distances and through walls, making the potential for unlicensed spectrum much greater," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

"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."

Microsoft applauded the FCC's decision, saying that their action will lead to greater broadband connectivity to consumers, while contributing to 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," Craig Mundie, Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer, said in a blog post . "As a result, technology companies will be able to develop new applications that tap into the potential of white spaces networks.

Microsoft's own campus in Redmond already makes use of a prototype "White-Fi" systems, which Mundie says 'delivers more economical broadband Internet access employees traveling between buildings."

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