We’ve talked a bit about white spaces before. They’re essentially the slices of spectrum between broadcast channels. Tapped properly, they can provide valuable wireless Internet services. Best of all, by using them we’re using a resource we simply did not before. It’s like the Native Americans using every bit of the buffalo they slew. Yet not everyone is happy with this plan, which could bring cheap and effective broadband to millions. The National Association of Broadcasters and the Association for Maximum Service Television have sued the FCC over their November 2008 decision to use white spaces.
As broadcasters have been arguing since the issue of white spaces first came to light, they think that it will cause harmful interference on their spectrums. To date, I’ve yet to see a study which supports their position. In fact, the FCC issued a report last year which showed that white spaces can be utilized, with the proper equipment, without interfering with broadcast channels. Yet the broadcasters continue their crusade.
This is obviously an emotional play. Celebrities like Dolly Parton have denounced white space usage, saying that wireless microphones are essential to their live performances. That’s certainly true, but it completely misses the point. The idea is that white spaces will be tapped with devices which will not interfere with Ms. Parton’s microphones. That argument, however, is mostly ignored. Why? Because the NAB and MSTV don’t want to adapt to new technologies. After all, businesses run better as monopolies.