Google: The Kid that Gets Your Side in Trouble

Posted in TV Bands, white space at 10:16 am by JamesNeel

Google has started a propaganda promotional campaign to get public opinion behind opening up the TV Band’s white spaces for unlicensed devices. The website is here where you can sign a petition urging the FCC to open make unassigned TV bands officially unlicensed, if you’re so inclined (I’m not yet at this moment).

According to Fierce Wireless

Google is hoping public pressure will help it in its campaign to get the FCC to make white space spectrum available for unlicensed wireless Internet devices. The company today launched a campaign called “Free the Airwaves” that will target rural and Native American communities across the country that have inconsistent or no Internet connections.

Google has been lobbying to get this spectrum, which sits between the airwaves currently licensed to TV broadcasters, to be used to develop new mobile communications devices. However, the initiative has raised the ire of the National Association of Broadcasters, which argues that white-space devices may interfere with existing television broadcasts.

Since broadband over TV bands is already authorized for rural spaces, but for fixed devices (802.22), this will likely be counter-productive as the ostensible reason has already been (or is being) addressed via a less contentious route.

This is the latest example where I like Google and in general agree with their direction, but fear that they’re hurting the white space cause by 1) being way too combative, 2) not having a solid technical grasp of what they’re proposing, 3) showing really bad timing (last week’s news on wireless mic detection was not countered, so I’m assuming it was relatively accurate).

Since they’re making their positions so very public and stridently before all of the technical issues are worked out (and I think they will be, primarily via geolocation and transmitter registries ala 802.11y), I fear cognitive radio and white spaces will be tarnished thus making later deployment of cognitive radio into other bands and the deployment of new applications more difficult.

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