After nearly two years of consideration, and staunch opposition by the broadcast TV industry, the Federal Communications Commission yesterday voted to approve final rules for the development and deployment of radio equipment in "white spaces"unused portions of the radio spectrum made available by the switch from analog to digital television.
"Today we open a new platform for American innovation," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said at the announcement."Today's order marks the commission's first significant release of unlicensed spectrum in 25 years."
In addition to bringing broadband to rural and other remote areas, the ruling will likely spawn a whole generation of new wireless devicesas well as giving a green light to companies such as xG technologies that have been developing mobile wireless VoIP technologies that operate in unlicensed spectrum.
"With the revised FCC rules, the white spaces are an even more exciting opportunity than before, and one that could change the wireless game to the benefits of users everywhere," said Craig Mathias, a principal with the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group. "I'm particularly excited about the application of cognitive radio, which could have benefits far beyond the white spaces spectrum, and the potential for new voice and data services addressing not just traditional markets, but also underserved rural areas, rapid-deployment and emergency response, smart grid, and many more."