FCC To Approve 'Wi-Fi On Steroids' Next Week?

The Federal Communications Commission is planning to vote next week on making the white space portion of the television broadcast spectrum available for use in wireless networks. Such a move would enable pumped-up wireless networks that can transmit data farther and more robustly, and also provide wireless to underserved rural areas and alleviate wireless dead zones in general.

The potential move has had plenty of opponents, including broadcast TV networks, which are worrying about interference with so much new data in the spectrum. The FCC, however, is said to have come up with a framework for use of the white space spectrum by wireless networks that doesn't interfere with those interests, including detailed TV channel mapping and specifying areas, such as sports stadiums, where wireless microphones see heavy use.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has named university and corporate campuses as among the first potential deployments for the expanded networks. In a Sunday interview with The New York Times, Genachowski said that the move would create a "platform for innovators and entrepreneurs" and pave the way for "the development of one or more billion-dollar industries."

The Times suggested that the FCC is "virtually certain" to approve the move in its Sept. 23 meeting. The FCC previously stated in a Sept. 2 bulletin that the white space vote was a docket item this month.

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