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FCC To Test Opening White Spaces Up To Public 68

Posted by samzenpus
from the space-rush dept.
GovTechGuy writes "The FCC will begin a test on Monday that will give the public access to 'white spaces,' the unused spectrum between TV and radio stations. The Commission is in the process of opening up the airwaves for public use; the last release of unlicensed airwaves eventually spawned a number of innovations such as WiFi, cordless phones and baby monitors. Officials hope this move will lead to better WiFi technology that can cover up to 50 miles."
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FCC To Test Opening White Spaces Up To Public

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  • First Post (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @03:11PM (#37402850)
    from my un-hackable 50mi wi-fi connection
  • Clarification (Score:5, Informative)

    by Saishuuheiki (1657565) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @03:12PM (#37402856)

    I think summary need to be clarified.

    The FCC is beginning a test Monday that will give public access to a database to be used to identify frequency bands available. This database will be used to determine what frequencies are available when the 'white spaces' go public.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      I think summary need to be clarified.

      The FCC is beginning a test Monday that will give public access to a database to be used to identify frequency bands available. This database will be used to determine what frequencies are available when the 'white spaces' go public.

      Ah, this does nothing but ask for even more clarification, as it would suggest that the FCC currently does not know exactly how the public would react to having access to this database? What is this, VC fishing from the FCC or something? C'mon, like we don't know what's going to happen when you offer up frequency bandwidth for public consumption? Please. I guarantee you the Ciscos, Microsofts, and Googles of the world have an answer...or probably 4,723 of them.

      • by chrismcb (983081)

        Ah, this does nothing but ask for even more clarification, as it would suggest that the FCC currently does not know exactly how the public would react to having access to this database?

        If you need more clarification, you could, you know, RTFA!

        Here, let me help you:

        But the FCC's rules require that device-makers contact a database system to obtain a list of channels that aren't currently being used by radio services at their current locations to prevent possible interference with broadcasts.

      • C'mon, like we don't know what's going to happen when you offer up frequency bandwidth for public consumption? Please. I guarantee you the Ciscos, Microsofts, and Googles of the world have an answer...or probably 4,723 of them.

        You better cool your guns if you don't want to get downmodded around here - you're implying that the government's artificial restriction on frequency use has prevented the kind of economic development activity you're talking about, and that just can't be happening in our environment.

    • by camperslo (704715)

      I think summary need to be clarified.

      The FCC is beginning a test Monday that will give public access to a database to be used to identify frequency bands available. This database will be used to determine what frequencies are available when the 'white spaces' go public.

      It's a public test of the database system which white-space equipment must use to determine what channels (current but locally available tv channels, not the former ones above 51, or frequencies between tv/radio channels) are available for use without causing problems.

      It's a bit strange that viewing the maps requires Silverlight. Something new shouldn't be using dying tech.

      trial site:
      http://whitespaces.spectrumbridge.com/Trial.aspx [spectrumbridge.com]

      The F.C.C. blog posting:
      http://www.fcc.gov/blog/fcc-announces-public-testing [fcc.gov]

  • I'd love to be able to reach my home connection from that distance, but do we really want 10,000 "linksys" APs showing up when doing a scan?
    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Oh god yes!
    • I'd love to be able to reach my home connection from that distance, but do we really want 10,000 "linksys" APs showing up when doing a scan?

      The article is talking about something more like wimax [wikimedia.org] rather than personal access points.

      • by medv4380 (1604309)
        Yea, but wouldn't you want to try and negotiate a clean channel with 10,000 other people rather then just have a few wimax points. Just think of the current issues with just 14 channels using wifi depending on regulations. 10,000 people setting up their AP to the same factory default settings sounds like fun.
        • by mspohr (589790)
          I've stayed in hotels with WiFi where they put all of their stations on the same channel. I guess they didn't want to interfere with outside channels... just interfere with their own customers.
    • If you get a way to search through the ssids, yes. Think of the free internet possibilities. No longer does there need to be one technologically challenged person on your street, no you just need one in the city.

      Joking obviously. Don't steal wifi; it messes up the owner's ability to stream porn.

    • but do we really want 10,000 "linksys" APs showing up when doing a scan?

      It'll provide more input for wireless-survey-driven location detection logic.

    • by i_ate_god (899684)

      do we care?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    only access to 'white spaces'?

    • by Trepidity (597)

      actually the opposite---the FCC is considering allowing more color into the heretofore reserved 'white spaces'

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone know if this would allow citizens to build a national network the could compete with the Internet?

    • Does anyone know if this would allow citizens to build a national network the could compete with the Internet?

      Not the Internet, Not say cross country. But perhaps we can by pass the local cell(phone) towers. What we want are many ISP's that can provide competition for access to the the Internet. The goal being that we pay a fare price for good service, and not just pad the pockets of the monopolies. And not the 388kbit DSL that most of us get when we do not live packed in like Sardines. and Yes I live
  • a number of innovations such as WiFi, cordless phones and baby monitors.

    Gee, thanks for that. Those things tend to be the scourge of the airwaves.

  • by GrumpyOldMan (140072) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @04:05PM (#37403456)

    I'm a cord-cutter & I'm worried about the impact this will have on my free TV reception.

    My understanding is that these devices are supposed to phone home, and find an "unused" UHF TV channel, so that they don't interfere with local TV broadcasts. But what is the definition of "unused" ? Will I still be able to pick up TV stations from 60 miles away, or will they be drowned out by the neighbors wireless gadgets? How about low-power (college / community) stations?

    And then there are hacked gadgets (like people do now to enable wifi channel 14) and broken gadgets to worry about.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      I'm a cord-cutter & I'm worried about the impact this will have on my free TV reception.

      My understanding is that these devices are supposed to phone home, and find an "unused" UHF TV channel, so that they don't interfere with local TV broadcasts. But what is the definition of "unused" ? Will I still be able to pick up TV stations from 60 miles away, or will they be drowned out by the neighbors wireless gadgets? How about low-power (college / community) stations?

      And then there are hacked gadgets (like people do now to enable wifi channel 14) and broken gadgets to worry about.

      You bring some sound points here. Perhaps it is too much of a risk to interfere with data streams(digital TV) that are dependent on good signal quality.

      Or perhaps this is all part of Obamas big job push. Let people interfere with public broadcasting so they can justify another Department of Homeland Obscurity and a 150,000-man FCC goon squad that will run around the country with scanners to fine/arrest violators.

  • There will be nowhere for them to escape to now.
  • i would like to buy a 5 watt mobile UHF radio and a 5 watt UHF base station and both can use external antennas of my choice so i can RX/TX a few miles out on them.
    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      i would like to buy a 5 watt mobile UHF radio and a 5 watt UHF base station and both can use external antennas of my choice so i can RX/TX a few miles out on them.

      Would you like 40 or 50 watts? That's a typical ham mobile power in the UHF band. Get thyself a ham license and have at it.

      Oh, you want to talk commercial topics? Pssst, most, if not all, and at least many, UHF ham radios can be "opened up" and will cover the GMRS/FRS frequencies. Remove a jumper/0 ohm SMD resistor and bingo. Go to mods.dk for info. Don't tell the FCC.

    • by Achra (846023)

      i would like to buy a 5 watt mobile UHF radio and a 5 watt UHF base station and both can use external antennas of my choice so i can RX/TX a few miles out on them.

      GMRS licensees are already authorized to transmit up to 50w and to have detachable antennas and there are repeaters as well. Ta-da! Your wish has been granted!

  • Most wireless microphones operate in the "white space" frequency ranges. The FCC pushed wireless users out of the 698-806 MHz a couple years ago and caused havoc in the theater and concert industries - the small theater I worked for spent over thirty thousand dollars replacing their wireless mics, because it is now illegal to buy, sell, or use a 700 MHz microphone. I can't imagine what it will be like if they take away all the spectrum. It's hard enough as is to do frequency coordination for twenty or thi
  • "The test facility at http://whitespaces.spectrumbridge.com/Trial.aspx [spectrumbridge.com] is non-responsive to Linux machines you gotta use Windows. This sort of blind spot on their part (and embrace of proprietary technologies) does not bode well for an effort to ensure inter-device compatibility!"
    Not only that, but Mac users are ALSO excluded!
    You need MS SIlverlight (!!!!) installed to use the FCC site!
    That excludes some 20%+ of all Internet users as I read the numbers. Yes this is a GREAT "test"!

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