August 18th, 2008 | Published in Google Public Policy
(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)
For quite some time we've been talking about the potential of the unused airwaves between broadcast TV channels ("white spaces") to provide affordable, high-speed wireless Internet connectivity nationwide. For this to happen, the Federal Communications Commission must allow unlicensed use of this spectrum.
If you care about the future of the Internet, now is the time to take action. The FCC has completed its field testing and is expected to make a ruling in the coming months. With this in mind, today we're launching Free The Airwaves, a new effort to bring users together around this important issue.
To help you to learn more about the tremendous promise of these airwaves, people from around the country have filmed video testimonials. Matthew Rantanen of Tribal Digital Village explained how freeing the airwaves would bring new opportunities to the Southern California Native American community, currently underserved by today's broadband providers. Wally Bowen of the Mountain Area Information Network discussed the potential of these airwaves to bring broadband access to rural communities. Many others have also weighed in, and we hope you will too.
At its core, Free the Airwaves is a call to action for everyday users. You don't need to be a telecommunications expert to understand that freeing the "white spaces" has the potential to transform wireless Internet as we know it. When you visit the site, you'll be invited to film a video response explaining what increased Internet access could mean for you, to sign a petition to the FCC, to contact your elected officials, to spread the word, and more.
When it comes to opening these airwaves, we believe the public interest is clear. But we also want to be transparent about our involvement - Google has a clear business interest in expanding access to the web. There's no doubt that if these airwaves are opened up to unlicensed use, more people will be using the Internet. That's certainly good for Google (not to mention many of our industry peers) but we also think that it's good for consumers.
That said, we can't pretend to speak for you. To learn more about what's at stake and to get involved, check out FreeTheAirwaves.com. We hope that once you've explored the facts for yourself, you'll want to make your voice heard.