FCC Votes to Open Up White Spaces

On Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to open up the "white spaces" on the television spectrum that will be available when the U.S. switches from analog to all-digital in February 2009. Sascha Meinrath, research director of the wireless future program at the New America Foundation, said that "All the PR spin and FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) failed in the face of physics and the ground reality of engineering." Wired.com sees consumers as the big winners, but there are corporations that will benefit as well. Intel's chips could power new devices made by companies like Motorola, Philips, and Dell that will be used to access the broadband services in the newly available whites spaces. On the other hand, there are industry losers as well. Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast "have paid billions over the years to gain exclusive rights to the spectrum," which will now disappear. "All those problems of diversity on the airwaves and access to internet broadband connectivity are predicated on the artificial scarcity of airwaves," Meinrath said. "They will be alleviated."