The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed that wireless devices and wireless broadband providers be able to operate in unused bands of broadcast television spectrum. The FCC wants to allow unlicensed devices to operate in the broadcast television spectrum at locations where the spectrum is not in use by television stations. In order to ensure that no interference is caused to TV stations and their viewers, the Commission proposed to require unlicensed devices to incorporate “smart radio” features to identify unused TV channels.
Chairman Michael Powell and company will begin a process of developing rules for unlicensed wireless devices to operate below 900MHz and in the 3GHz band of the radio-frequency spectrum. They also plan to classify the unlicensed broadband devices that could be used in the TV bands into two general functional categories. The first category would consist of lower power “personal/portable” unlicensed devices, such as Wi-Fi like cards in laptop computers or wireless in-home local area networks. The second category would consist of higher power “fixed/access” unlicensed devices that are generally operated from a fixed location and may be used to provide a commercial service such as wireless broadband internet access.
Such a move may infact open up the broadband market to various local bidders and make such wireless and broadband services commonplace in the US. Recently, search engines such as Yahoo, AOL’s SingingFish, and MSN have been putting an emphasis on “broadband only” paid subscription services and video/audio search, which functions best when using broadband. As long as we all don’t have to put 1950’s style “rabbit ears” antennas on top of our laptops and PDA’s, the move may be widely accepted by the American public.