Our digital fate is better represented by Google than by government
So says Jeff Jarvis in the NY Post today:
The white spaces are the spectrum that will be freed up when TV broadcasters finish switching to wavelengths reserved for digital transmission in 2009. Google wants the spectrum liberated so any of us can freely use it, as we do now with wi-fi frequencies.
Google cofounder Larry Page made a rare appearance in Washington recently to push the point, arguing that unlicensed white spaces could turn into “wi-fi on steroids.”
Proponents say this would give consumers data-transmission speeds in the billions of bits a second – versus the millions we get, at best, today – and without wires. We could then do anything online – including, even, watching and sending video – from anywhere.
It would also serve a strategic, economic goal: getting the entire nation connected to high speed.
The FCC’s been considering its proposal for four years now. They’re being lobbied heavily by broadcast interests which oppose the plan. Jarvis says those interests are intent on protecting themselves from competition.
Nate Anderson has more on that from the National Conference for Media Reform last weekend in Minneapolis:
None of the presenters here argue that licensed uses are bad or unnecessary, but all were strongly convinced that the public should have at least a bit more access to public spectrum not controlled by corporations or the government. Some disappointment was expressed with even the 700MHz auction this year, which did have some “open access” rules but eventually found its way into the portfolio of über-incumbent Verizon.
Says Cory Doctorow:
The National Ass. of Broadcasters continues to fight tooth and nail against opening up the “whitespace” in the broadcast spectrum. Broadcasters get to use America’s spectrum for free. … there’s plenty of room for use of that whitespace in WiFi-style devices that are smart enough to know where they are and adjust their use of spectrum accordingly. The tiny sliver of spectrum given over to WiFi (and other unlicensed uses) at 2.4GHz has generated untold billions in economic activity and public good. [...]
After all, we only own this spectrum that we’ve loaned to them.