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Sunday, January 20, 2008

FCC to Test 'White Spaces' Broadband Devices

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) next week will begin testing devices that will allow Internet service providers to utilize unused spectrum for wireless broadband service.

The field tests will be conducted at a variety of locations to provide information on the performance of the devices under real world conditions. In an effort to free up spectrum for public safety use, Congress has ordered TV broadcasters to shift their signals from analog to digital by February 2009. When this happens, there will be open, unregulated spectrum between the digital channels, or white spaces, that companies like Google and Microsoft want to use for wireless broadband service.

Accessing that spectrum, however, is easier said than done. A coalition of Internet companies known as the White Spaces Coalition has been working on equipment that will provide white space broadband access via spectrum sensing.

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