In a Thursday order, the five-member Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave its unanimous approval to the use of unlicensed airwaves, also called “white spaces”; thereby paving the way for a new market for high-speed Internet connections for smartphones, computers, and tablets.
According to an Enterprise Networking Planet report, with the FCC already having granted experimental licenses for white-space networks and proof-of-concept experiments, the Thursday order implies that the table is set for delivery of an array of new wireless broadband services and devices to access the unlicensed airwaves.
The new order by FCC is a notable win for a number of public interest groups, entrepreneurs, and high-tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Dell, which have been long awaiting the chance to tap the unused spectrum.
Noting that the approval to the use of “white spaces” was part of a more comprehensive effort to extensively expand broadband connections in the US, the FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said: “This new unlicensed spectrum will be a powerful platform for innovation. And as we've seen time and again, when we unleash American ingenuity, great things happen.”
Genachowski also highlighted the fact that the last time the FCC granted the use of unlicensed spectrum two decades back, the microwave frequencies were converted into the innumerable WiFi hotspots that provide Web connections to laptops and smartphones on the Mall, in New York’s Time Square and in tens of thousands of homes as well as public places.
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