Google's Wireless Plans Invade Contested "White Space"


In between the ultra-high frequency television channels sits a spectrum of TV "white space," and as U.S. broadcasters transition from analog to digital transmission in time to meet the Federal Trade Commission's February 2009 deadline, these vacant bands are becoming a point of contention.

Google, Motorola, Microsoft, Philips, and others envision these vacant bands being used for universal wireless internet, and to plead its case to the FCC (and apply some pressure), Google has setup a website called with a four minute YouTube video outlining why opening up the spectrum would be a good thing.

But not everyone is in agreement with Google and Co.'s semi-Utopian vision. According to audio industry professionals, opening up the spectrum could be disastrous. Why? Because wireless audio equipment could suddenly find itself facing significant interference from electronic devices searching for wireless connectivity.

"The radio frequency environment is going to become more crowded and more difficult to use," says Mike Torlone, director of marketing services at AKG Acoustics, a division of audio-equipment manufacturer Harman International.

The fear is that everything from celebrity concerts to the local church sermon could potentially be affected, but Google thinks there are ways around the problem , such as using a geolocation database to ensure no white space device could transmit without first getting the all-clear from the database.

What's your take? Should the FCC open up the spectrum, or will doing so cause more problems than it purports to solve?

Image Credit: Flickr massdistraction

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