In a step to increase wi-fi hotspots to the American public Google were today reported to have approached the US government for permission to you unlicensed TV frequencies known as ‘white noise’ to be used for wi-fi.
The approach from Google was made a week after the Federal Communications Commission completed the nation’s landmark 700 megahertz auction.
Made to industry regulators, Google described proposals for potential access to the unused white space as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”. Google has called the proposals part of a “wi-fi 2.0 age”, an informal, loosely regulated low cost wirelss broadband network that could offer customers “data rates in the gigabits-per-second”.
White space describes the unused frequency blocks that lie between regulated television channel broadcasts on analogue airwaves. There has been an argument for some time that these parts unused spectrum could be assembled to support a new high speed wireless service.
“The vast majority of viable spectrum in this country simply goes unused, or else is grossly underutilised. Unlike other natural resources, there is no benefit to allowing this spectrum to lie fallow, ” - Google’s Richard Whitt
It has very much been the case that existing broadcasters have been opposed to such moves amid fears that use of this white space would interfere with the quality of existing television programming. However, with the development of several spectrum sensing technologies designed to prevent signals interfering with each other Google is pushing the authorities in the US to reconsider.
Microsoft has had an embarrassing failure with such moves last year when its prototype broke during FCC testing. It later was said to have worked adequately with a repaired version of the technology.
Of course expanding wi-fi capability will have major implications for mobile search and if the FCC accepts the request and Google wins airwaves, devices supporting the technology could be out as early as next year. Let mobile monetization commence.