May 14th, 2008 | Published in Google Public Policy
We've blogged before about the vast potential of "white spaces" -- the unused portion of the TV spectrum between channels. In a March filing with the FCC, we showed how this waste could be converted to huge economic and social gain, providing broadband internet to more Americans, particularly for underserved rural areas and first responders. We believe it's possible to marry the benefits of mobile devices for consumers with the protection of fixed devices for TV broadcasters and other incumbent users of this spectrum (including wireless microphones) -- in part by using geolocation technology that would prevent a white space device from transmitting over channels that are in use.
Some observers, particularly in the public interest community, have asked whether geolocation might compromise the promise of the TV white spaces, particularly with regard to "mesh networks." Happily, this need not be the case. In a new white paper, we explain how our proposals can provide the protections afforded to incumbent users by geolocation, without significantly limiting the promise of mesh networks. We also describe how this technology can support use by the public service community in times of natural disasters and in other emergency situations.
We firmly believe that the TV white spaces can be used to bring the Internet to more Americans, while at the same time protecting existing uses of this spectrum from interference.