The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is pushing hard again to free up a large amount of bandwidth, from soon unused analog TV stations, mostly unused frequencies for free over-the-air TV signals. Reuters has the news on the current situation:

The Federal Communications Commission wants Congress to grant it authority to hold incentive auctions that would compensate television broadcasters for giving up some of their spectrum to wireless companies.

“I believe the single most important step that will drive our mobile economy and address consumer frustration is authorizing voluntary incentive auctions,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told broadcasters at their annual convention in Las Vegas.

But broadcasters have been resistant to the agency’s proposal, worried about the unintended consequences that parting with airwaves could have on their TV signals and the viewers they serve.

“We’re talking about putting the whole system at risk,” Alan Frank, chief executive of Post-Newsweek Stations Inc, said earlier in the week at the conference.

Repacking the TV band, to clear large contiguous blocks of spectrum considered best for mobile broadband use, could increase interference and degrade the signal strength of broadcasters not parting with spectrum, said Frank.

This is not a new problem. It is well known how the scarcity of RF spectrum is one of the main problems in the industry and, soon, it will become the major bottleneck to advances in wireless communications. I already talked about a related topic a few months ago, when I posted the news about Google strongly supporting what is currently known as WiFi on Steroids. A new open frequency band where to deploy a new generation of WLAN networks that would achieve huge bit rates. The project was approved a few months ago, but now it is awaiting the first steps taken by the industry.

All in all, it looks clear to me that white spaces have to be regulated soon and transferred to new wireless services, both free wifi and cellular services.

Read the news here.

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