11.6. WHITE SPACES

Larry Page was ecstatic when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to open up an unused broadcast television spectrum for other types of broadcasts:

We will soon have Wi-Fi on steroids, since these spectrum signals have much longer range than today's Wi-Fi technology and broadband access can be spread using fewer base stations resulting in better coverage at lower cost. And it is wonderful that the FCC has adopted the same successful unlicensed model used for Wi-Fi, which has resulted in a projected 1 billion Wi-Fi chips being produced this year.[]

White spaces are the unused broadcast spectrums that sit between television channels and which likely can be used for high-speed wireless transmission.

Google lobbied fervently in Washington, D.C. and on the Internet for such a change. Google gathered more than 13,000 signatures supporting its point of view through its "Free the Airways" campaign.

Other major companies, including Microsoft and Motorola, joined Google in the crusade. Page, however, was point man on the six-year effort. A Google spokesperson said that Page had a "personal interest" in the matter. We don't know for sure what the personal interest was, except that Page sees white spaces as a potential medium for advertising.

Larry acknowledged that his interest in expanded access to white spaces wasn't entirely altruistic. Google stands a chance of expanding its advertising revenues 20 to 30 percent thanks to the use of white spaces.

The FCC ...

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