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FCC Rules for Super Wi-Fi

Posted on Sep 24, 2010
Flickr / fccdotgov

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, facing camera, at a meeting in Washington earlier this year.

A bird? A plane? No, it’s super Wi-Fi! The FCC has finally approved a proposal to open the unused space between broadcast television channels—dubbed “white space”—for wide-radius high-speed wireless broadband ... or, in more campy terms, super Wi-Fi.

The decision ends a years-long debate between the government and telecom companies over the use of “white space.” —JCL

The New York Times:

The Federal Communications Commission approved a proposal on Thursday that would open vast amounts of unused broadcast television airwaves for high-speed wireless broadband networks and other unlicensed applications.

The change in available airwaves, which were freed up by the conversion of television signals from analog to digital, constitutes the first significant block of spectrum made available for unlicensed use by the F.C.C. in 20 years.

It was a victory that did not come easily, or quickly, however. The F.C.C. first approved a similar measure in 2008, but the technical requirements for unlicensed devices drew objections from 17 companies or groups on both sides of the issue, forcing the commission to redraft its proposal.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, September 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

It’s about time. The US has been the “slow child” of DSL-braodband roll-out. Here are the top 20 countries worldwide of DSL penetration (Ars Technica, as of June last year):
  * South Korea (95%)
  * Singapore (88%)
  * Netherlands (85%)
  * Denmark (82%)
  * Taiwan (81%)
  * Hong Kong (81%)
  * Israel (77%)
  * Switzerland (76%)
  * Canada (76%)
  * Norway (75%)
  * Australia (72%)
  * Finland (69%)
  * France (68%)
  * United Kingdom (67%)
  * United Arab Emirates (65%)
  * Japan (64%)
  * Sweden (63%)
  * Estonia (62%)
  * Belgium (62%)
  * USA (60%)

As well, because the breakup of MaBell into the seven BabyBells was done to preserve telecoms concentrations in each of the regional companies created ... during the Reagan administration in 1984 (who else?). In these regional districts there is little effective competition in the subscriber-line market. Which has allowed the Baby-Bell incumbents to cherry-pick markets, that is, serve dense urban markets and leave rural markets to employ slower dial-up modems.

Until now, with this alternative means of transmission means. That is, it depends upon who gets the bandwidth segments and if real competition amongst the ISPs will be allowed.

And DSL is only one market in which “competition” is a well-recognized fallacy. Market concentration brings nice juicy profits, which is why BigBusiness spends BigBucks in Congress to obtain them.

Is this what we thought Free Market Competition was all about? Wakey, wakey ...

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