Thursday, July 19, 2007

White space broadband seen more feasible for rural vs. urban wireless broadband

Blogger Jacob Levin of the Washington-based advocacy group Public Knowledge isn't bullish on so-called white space wireless broadband as a way around the wireline telco/cable duopoly on broadband access. But Levin does see white space broadband, which would harness unused or "white space" of the television broadcast frequency spectrum to transmit broadband signals, as having real benefit in less densely populated areas:

While I can’t say all the ways white space will be used, I can say how it probably won’t be: it will not be used to provide the third pipe that will finally break open the last mile bottleneck, thus reclaiming the internet from the ISP gatekeepers and ensuring a dynamic, innovative and generally neutral net. White space may be used to provide last mile wireless Internet connectivity at speeds comparable to DSL and cable, but only in rural areas where broadband competition is worse than the oligopoly city dwellers suffer under. The data transfer speed over white space is closely related to the amount of spectrum available and the number of users. As this study shows, there are vacant channels everywhere, but there are more vacant channels in areas with less population density due to the smaller demand for broadcast licenses in those areas. Because of the great amount of spectrum available, and the small number of people who will be using the spectrum, it is likely that rural wireless ISPs will try using the white space to provide broadband.

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