Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Wireless Networking Government United States Hardware News

FCC Approves Unlicensed Use of White-Space Spectrum 138

Posted by kdawson
from the knights-in-white-spaces dept.
sidesh0w was one of a number of readers to alert us to the FCC's unanimous decision approving unlicensed devices to use the white spaces of the spectrum unused by television broadcasters, provided they take certain precautions not to interfere with licensed users. "Denying a tremendous last-minute lobbying effort by broadcasters, the vote on white space devices went ahead as planned today after a several-hour delay at FCC headquarters. When the vote came, though, it was unanimous. For the Democrats on the Commission, the devices are appealing because they offer a potential new avenue for broadband services, while the Republicans are pleased for the same reasons, but love the fact that this is a deregulatory order that focuses on less regulation and more competition."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC Approves Unlicensed Use of White-Space Spectrum

Comments Filter:
  • Wait. (Score:3, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @09:26PM (#25635669) Journal
    Did somebody just describe God's Own Crony Capitalists(tm) as loving competition?
    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @11:03PM (#25636213) Journal

      Did somebody just describe God's Own Crony Capitalists(tm) as loving competition?

      Please don't confuse the Neocon faction currently in control of the Republican party electoral machinery (and most of the (R) seats in the congress) with conservatives. B-)

      Republicans in appointed and bureaucratic positions are more likely to be from the other factions - some of which give more than lip service to economic freedom (which emphatically includes competition and excludes government action selectively helping favorites).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I don't. Unfortunately, judging from the fact that the Neocon faction is currently in control of the electoral machinery and most of the party's seats, a bloody lot of alleged conservatives apparently do.
        • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @03:30AM (#25637489)
          An interesting idea I saw posted a couple days ago regarding the Neocons machine and this election:

          I keep getting a mental image of McCain on election night, looking broken, then walking off stage, shutting himself alone in a room, and out comes an enormous creepy grin. He immediately picks up a phone, dials a number, and says, "Hello, Karl? Yeah, how do you like your permanent majority now? Payback's a biatch, fat boy," then hangs up.
  • by Mysteerie (972719) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @09:26PM (#25635671)
    You know the ghost that uses the white space to communicate on the tv and recorders? Won't they get pissed now that thier channels are getting clogged? Sigh... don't mind me... stupid stupid corny joke... lala
    • You know the ghost that uses the white space to communicate on the tv and recorders? Won't they get pissed now that thier channels are getting clogged?

      Sure.

      Remember what they already did to that little kid [tvsquad.com] in _Poltergeist_? We can expect a LOT more of that.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by hellwig (1325869)
      Oh man, I accidently modded this Offtopic, what the hell, why isn't there a confirmation or something. Thankfully my actions aren't overpowering to this system.

      Anyway, I never saw that White Noise movie with Michael Keaton, but if licensing the White Spaces would have prevented it, then I'm all for it.

      Oh, I can undo the moderation by posting this very comment. Awesome.
    • by sabrex15 (746201)
      As an Amateur Radio operator, I have looked at several articles including the one linked from /., and the one on NY Times [nytimes.com]. Does anyone have an idea about what frequencies they are speaking of? Thanks
  • by mrSteveBallmer (1345863) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @09:28PM (#25635679)
    Watch the Linux and Mac freaks fill up the entire thing with porn! http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
  • by theGreater (596196) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @09:57PM (#25635855) Homepage
    ... I, for one, welcome our multi-frequency overlords. But seriously, fractal antennas ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal_antenna [wikipedia.org] ) and golomb rulers ( http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/26/0037258 [slashdot.org] ) just got even more important. And I will of course be happy to assist them in finding handsets to toil in their data mines.
  • by Radical Moderate (563286) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @10:00PM (#25635873)
    Republicans AND Democrats are happy about this? We are so screwed.
    • by db32 (862117)
      But the broadcasters are unhappy...

      I seriously don't know what to think now.
    • You wouldn't want to auto-program channels on your TV. I would be 80% political ads channels.

    • I'm trying to figure out why the hell the blurb even brought that up. I don't give a rip whether or why any of the politicos are happy with an FCC decision (unless they decide to try to outlaw it).

      The spectrum use is far more interesting to me.

  • Transmitter Power (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Does this mean that whoever has the most powerful transmitter in an area will be able to drown out all other broadcasts on a given frequency?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lysergic.acid (845423)

      i'm assuming that wireless protocols used in the white-space spectrum (i think WiMax has an unlicensed spectrum profile, though i don't know what frequency range it's in) will account for potential interference and frequency conflicts from other devices. most-likely these protocols will be designed to detect whether a particular band or frequency is occupied by another device and try to find one that isn't. they'll probably also be designed to jump to a different band/frequency if a new source of interferen

      • by Stellian (673475)

        i'm assuming that wireless protocols used in the white-space spectrum (i think WiMax has an unlicensed spectrum profile, though i don't know what frequency range it's in) will account for potential interference and frequency conflicts from other devices.

        I would extend the question further: what happens in a competitive environment where:
        - providers compete among each other to serve as much customers as possible over whitespace ?
        - customers compete among each other to maximize their own download speed ?

        I realize the devices are themselves approved by FCC, but what happens when you can improve the quality of service by hacking the firmware ? How many people will refuse to install the "double your bandwidth" hacked firmware, that just so happens to disable an

        • by theaveng (1243528)

          >>How many people will refuse to install the "double your bandwidth" hacked firmware, that just so happens to disable any spectrum sensing and pump out bits at the highest power level available, and also disables FCC's ability to patch remotely ?
          >>>

          Thanks. You just ruined my day. If the firmware can be hacked in your whitespace-equipped Ipod, you could also disable the TV-protective database, and broadcast your Ipod signals directly overtop of existing channels (like WGAL in my area).

  • by russotto (537200) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @10:32PM (#25636047) Journal
    Pretty much no doubt the NAB is going to sue over this, right?
    • by Starayo (989319) on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @11:16PM (#25636277) Homepage
      I asked a NAB employee about that, and he said, I quote:

      "The National Australia Bank has no comment on this issue."

      The plot thickens.
    • All the NAB has to do is distribute some sensitive equipment, with training manuals, to a number of people around the country. They train how to detect infringing devices. They follow the steps in the manual to report the infringing devices. A crack legal team at the NAB receives notifications from said people.

      I imagine it wouldn't be hard for a lot of cease and desist orders to be issued at a fairly low cost per order, if a well-organized campaign was organized. Said group of trained people proceed to

  • the good decisions fcc took in the last few months, obama leading 200 to 100 in eastern states, (even getting florida), and now this.

    unspeakable joy.
  • by davide marney (231845) <(davide.marney) (at) (netmedia.org)> on Tuesday November 04, 2008 @11:39PM (#25636381) Journal

    This is undoubtedly the right technical move. There is a huge amount of underused bandwidth in this part of the spectrum. As long as there is a reliable way to avoid the licensed operators, it would be stupid not to optimize our usage. Not optimizing our bandwidth is one of the reasons why we're slipping in broadband adoption compared to the rest of the world.

    • by theaveng (1243528)

      >>>There is a huge amount of underused bandwidth in this part of the spectrum.

      ???

      Here in the crowded Northeast region, I have four empty channels. 2,3,4, and 25, and only the UHF-band 25 can be used by these compact whitespace devices. So that's ONE empty channel. I don't call that a "huge amount" in any way, shape, or form.

  • In one year. Let's call it the Cloud.
  • Part 15 devices already create a spectral cesspool. Between devices that are shoddily made, not made to their certifications (ie: the manufacturer certified a 'lab queen' and what they actually build doesn't meet spec), and end users adding illegal power amps and illegal antennas, Part 15 devices are already a huge headache to the licensed users with whom they share spectrum. The SNR on digital TV is already marginal enough. This could very well go badly for all concerned. Part 15 devices need to be seg

    • I see a growth industry:

      Development and deployment of infringing devices that totally pollute the spectra, rendering all the other whitespace devices unusable. It's a 'lets all get along' area of the spectrum. None of the unlicensed devices have to not infringing on other unlicensed devices, do they? Your neighbor is jamming your over-the-air TV reception? Buy a "Widget N" from an NAB-sponsored website. It uses two AA batteries and makes your neighbors whitespace device totally unusable. All for a low

  • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @01:21AM (#25636877) Journal
    Out of curiosity, has there ever been an attempt to license in the visible portion of the spectrum?
    • by madnis (1300099)
      uhmmm... does this count? http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/01/2124232 [slashdot.org]
    • No, it is not very useful because of noise of the electronics is too high to make it cost effective.

    • Shush... FCC may try to sue God again...

    • How can you be curious and sarcastic in the same question? ()
    • by vlm (69642)

      Out of curiosity, has there ever been an attempt to license in the visible portion of the spectrum?

      FCC regulation stops at 300 GHz. Ask your nearest (well informed) ham radio operator.

      It is a free for all above 300 GHz.

      Water adsorption is so high from 100 GHz up to light that it doesn't matter.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        Water adsorption is so high from 100 GHz up to light that it doesn't matter.

        Water absorbs light? Odd that.

        I'm sure the reason for the lack of regulation is simply because such frequencies are so extremely directional that there's next to no possibility of even neighboring transceivers causing interference.

  • Just like it was for the real estate, mortgage, and banking industry! Less pesky, intrusive government oversight. I expect big things.
    • by swillden (191260)

      Just like it was for the real estate, mortgage, and banking industry! Less pesky, intrusive government oversight. I expect big things.

      The problem with the finance industry wasn't lack of government oversight, it was ineffective government oversight.

      In an unregulated environment, investors would have been more cautious and would have done more due diligence on the nature of the mortgages their securities backed. In a well-regulated environment, regulators would have done the due diligence and made sure that the risks were appropriately communicated to investors. Investors believed regulators had their back, but were wrong, and that scr

  • I read on Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] that Google, Dell, Intel, and Microsoft submitted a proof-of-concept prototype to the FCC for testing. Now that this (de)regulation has been approved, any thoughts on who will be the first to roll out White Space devices.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

Working...