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FCC Opens White Spaces Spectrum

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 8:18am
Maisie Ramsay

The FCC paved the way to the deployment of high-speed Wi-Fi at its open meeting today by unanimously approving an order to open unused television spectrum for use by unlicensed wireless devices.

The vote marks the agency's first significant release of unlicensed spectrum in more than two decades.

The white spaces spectrum released today will produce "super Wi-Fi" services with longer range and more reliable connections than current Wi-Fi technologies.

The newly opened spectrum operates in a lower frequency that has better propagation characteristics than the frequency Wi-Fi currently operates in.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says the agency has already granted experimental licenses to a number of cities that are testing out a variety of new technologies in the spectrum, from "smart city" applications to water quality management.

Today's move ends a two-year delay to resolve concerns about interference with broadcast signals and wireless microphones. The agency plans to create a database of spectrum currently being used by broadcasters and has other provisions to prevent interference with wireless microphones.

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