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FCC’s approves the ‘White Space’ broadband plan

Washington, United States, November 05: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has approved the plan to use the unlicensed airwaves, known as ‘white spaces’, to provide broadband service for internet based wireless gadgets.

The plan got the green signal with the landmark 5-0 votes by the FCC and this also marked the victory of Google, Microsoft and HP, who had been lobbying for it really hard.

The plan is expected to increase investment like the Wi-Fi technology has seen so far. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have welcomed this development saying that this would broaden the spectrum improving internet access for the Americans, especially in rural areas.

“We will soon have Wi-Fi on steroids since these spectrum signals have a much longer range than today's Wi-Fi technology,” said Mr. Page.

Also, the National Association of Broadcasters has said the tests are accurate enough and the obvious flaws in white-space devices cannot be ruled out. Opponents, from TV networks to Broadway producers, say it could disrupt their over-the-air signals.

Showing their utmost concern over the possible disruption by white space with the air-waves, 50 members of Congress asked the FCC not to open up white spaces. Apart from Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton among the senators, rock band Guns n' Roses, country singer Dolly Parton, the Recording Academy, the American Federation of Musicians were among others who joined to oppose the plan.

On the other hand, FCC chairman Kevin Martin told that authorising the use of white space includes provisions meant to protect TV broadcasts and microphones. Any device offered by a technology company would have to “go through a rigorous certification process”, he said.

In contrast, the Maximum Services Television, a broadcasters group, says the decision "imperils American television reception in order to satisfy the 'free' spectrum demands of Google and Microsoft".

Mr Martin said the FCC's engineers had already taken the "extra step" of undertaking months of testing of white-space devices, to determine whether they could be used without interfering with other broadcasts and microphones.