FCC Approves Television Whitespace for Internet Access
Whitespace is more commonly known as “snow” or “fuzz” – the black and white static between channels on your TV. Now that HD is taking over and they’ll be leaving analog behind, they’re also freeing up a ton of this space on the spectrum. What HD did, aside from simply creating a more vivid picture, was to condense the amount of the spectrum needed to deliver television stations to your home.
Google, among others, routed heavily for the FCC to allow the space to be used publicly for Internet access, rather than sold off to big companies like Verizon who would then control what can or can’t be done with the space.
According to USA Today, “white space spectrum will be unlicensed and free – like Wi-Fi – to anybody who wants to use it.” Whether or not that means you’ll be able to get free Internet or not is hard to say, but don’t count on it. If free Internet was the result of this decision, you could simply stream TV online and cut out cable networks entirely, something that cable providers are unlikely to accept without a fight.
The FCC is also apparently investigating the big cable companies like Comcast and Time-Warner to see if they’re using the transition from analog to digital to hike up prices, great news considering how cable TV five years ago cost around $20 and now with all of the digital add-on features, you’re looking at closer to $50 or more.
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