Monday, August 27, 2007

White Spaces Coalition poised to move ahead with wireless broadband -- with or without FCC OK

The White Spaces Coalition, which seemed to be gearing up to take the Federal Communications Commission to court after the FCC recently panned prototype devices developed by the coalition to broadcast broadband signals in the "white spaces" between digital TV frequencies, appears to be shifting the burden back to the FCC.

There had been reports that the coalition, which is comprised of Microsoft, Google, Dell, HP, Intel, Earthlink and Phillips, had been mulling suing the FCC because it wasn't allowed to replace what it claims was a malfunctioning prototype that didn't assure government testers it wouldn't interfere with TV broadcasts.

Now it appears the coalition is preparing to move forward with or without FCC approval, according to this Broadcasting & Cable article. In short it looks like the coalition is telling the FCC if it has a problem with the devices, then the ball rests in its court to intervene.

Some commentators believe the coalition can't get a fair testing of its prototypes by the FCC because they say it's reluctant to approve a so-called "disruptive technology" that could threaten the existing duopoly of the telcos and cable companies and bring broadband where they aren't willing to go.

Well too bad. The telco/cable duopoly can no longer have it both ways, wanting to maintain territorial hegemony while at the same time leaving much of the U.S. mired in broadband black holes. The nation badly needs a "third pipe" to rapidly bring broadband to those who lack access.

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