For Immediate Release

Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x22 or (703) 517-6273
Free Press

Big Win Ahead for White Spaces

WASHINGTON - According to news reports, engineers at the Federal Communications Commission are expected to issue a report endorsing the unlicensed use of "white spaces" -- empty airwaves between television channels -- to provide high-speed Internet access nationwide.

The report follows 18 months of exhaustive testing by the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology to determine the feasibility of new technology that uses white spaces to deliver broadband service. The OET's endorsement will conclude the FCC's field and lab testing, and the agency is expected to vote on a Report and Order at an upcoming meeting.

Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

"In a major victory for consumers and innovators, the FCC's engineers are poised to give unlicensed white spaces their seal of approval. This move provides support for policies that would open the public airwaves to the high-tech communications of the 21st century.


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"Nearly every market in the United States has empty white spaces -- in some communities, more than three-quarters of the broadcast spectrum is unused. Unlicensed devices make efficient use of the airwaves because they're low-power and smart enough to detect and avoid other broadcasters and services.

"This isn't about one industry versus another. And the real value of unlicensed white spaces isn't in the devices of today -- it's in their future potential to connect all Americans to a fast, affordable, open Internet. Freeing up these powerful airwaves will create a boom in innovative technologies and expand the opportunities for citizens to communicate with one another and the rest of the world.

"With this endorsement from the technical experts, it's time to shed the outdated standards that have placed the public airwaves under lock and key. We urge the FCC to move forward with policies that will increase competition and innovation, paving the way for this revolutionary new wireless marketplace."



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