June 16th, 2008 | Published in Google Public Policy
In previous postings, we've made the case that the TV "white spaces" could be used to provide broadband internet for all Americans without harming current users of this spectrum (TV broadcasters and wireless microphone users). In a new white paper, we make the case that better use of the white spaces could actually lead to new, vastly superior wireless microphones, rather than pose a threat to live events.
The main problem that users of wireless microphones face today is coordination. A single venue may involve as many as 300 microphones. Coordinating the frequency assignments of all these microphones is overwhelmingly difficult, taking hours of careful preparation.
With more permissive rules from the Federal Communications Commission, new wireless microphones could be designed to work in a very different way. Modern signal processing technologies taking advantage of these new rules could help eliminate the coordination problem. These same new technologies would also help guard more effectively against interference of all forms, attacks by malicious hackers trying to disrupt events, or eavesdropping by individuals illegally recording events.
The proposed new rules for the TV white spaces, in addition to improving the lives of millions of under-served Americans by providing low-cost mobile broadband internet access, could also improve the ability of sound engineers to provide audio for live and recorded events without hours of difficult coordination, and without the constant threat of accidental or intentional disruption. And as we've pointed out in a recent filing with the FCC, this can all be done without disruption of existing devices during the transition period.