While You Were Voting: FCC Frees Up The White Spaces
While the country fixated on the historic presidential election on Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) quietly expanded the use of unused airwaves, or "white spaces." The move, one which EDUCAUSE has supported for several years now, will free up this high quality spectrum for unlicensed uses such as WiFi. The white space issue has become increasingly important as the national transition from analog to digital television wraps up in February 2009.
Supporters, including Microsoft and Google, said freeing white spaces would allow for greater innovation in wireless technologies and provide better access to consumers. However, some expressed concern that usage of the spectrum would create interference with wireless microphones. Churches, Broadway producers, and the Walt Disney Company opposed the measure, arguing that there would be interference in church sermons, live musical performances, and university lectures. The FCC, though, says they conducted tests and could not prove there was any interference.