Google Once Again Lobbying for National Wi-Fi

March 25 2008 / by Marisa Vitols / In association with Future
Category: Government   Year: 2009   Rating: 12

Wouldn’t it be nice to have cheap, high-speed wifi blanketing the entire United States? You’d be able to access the internet from anywhere, which would allow you to stream entertainment during long road trips, keep up-to-date on mass transit arrivals and departures, fall back on google maps when you become lost, or just not be tethered to an ethernet cord when you really just want to watch your kids play in the backyard while doing a bit of home-work.

Sound appealing? Google thinks so too. And they’ve proposed yet another solution to make this high-speed internet dream a reality.

Here’s the plan: The February 2009 conversion of all U.S. televisions from analog to digital will free-up an extraordinary amount of white space (basically, gaps of bandwidth in the previously saturated television spectrum), that could be used to project wireless internet signals throughout every home in America relatively risk-free.

Google’s ex parte filing with the FCC states that “[t]he unique qualities of the TV white space – unused spectrum, large amounts of bandwidth, and excellent propagation characteristics – offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans. In particular, this spectrum can provide robust infrastructure to serve the needs of underdeployed rural areas, as well as first responders and others in the public safety community. Moreover, use of this spectrum will enable much-needed competition to the incumbent broadband service providers.”

Sound like a win-win for everyone. So what’s the problem? TV broadcasters, wireless phone manufacturers, and even the NFL are worried that utilizing this white space will interfere with their programming, service or wireless devices. Google argues that this would not be a problem due to low-cost “spectrum sensing” which would prevent signals from being crossed.


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Battling the Future — Big Business Weighs In

September 25 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Technology   Year: General   Rating: 3

Comcast has been showing up rather frequently in the news as of late due to the issues they are having with users hogging large amounts of bandwidth.

Just recently, the FCC laid down a ruling against Comcast’s practice of limiting the speed of certain websites (torrent sites in particular). “The FCC voted 3-2 in early August that treating certain types of Web traffic differently violated its “net neutrality” principles, which state that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.” Of course Comcast is appealing the decision, saying they should be able to regulate their own business.

Comcast is just trying to stop progress. At some point, another company will come up with unlimited usage which will either force Comcast to take the caps off their connection or chance falling into obscurity.

John Smart, President of the Acceleration Studies Foundation, put it this way, “It is very profitable for large companies to limit innovation and sit on their IP as much as they can. Big cable companies and their lobbies have greatly slowed down the arrival of internet TV, and will continue to do so.”

Stringing out technology is the best way to insure profits long-term, but companies may soon find themselves by-passed by competitors.

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