Super Wi-Fi Life in the White Spaces

In an admission of age, I remember when we first signed up for AOL.

It was on our first home computer an Apple IIe.  We paid something outrageous for it and it seemed like we got the keys to the information kingdom at the time.  It had a hard drive of something like 55 MB—surely enough for everything we could possible want to do with this new gismo on the desk in the family room.

What I quickly learned from that machine was the agonizing slowness of dial-up internet access and the joy of such access when we finally got to the desired site which made AOL a digital superstar for investors and enabled it to buy Time-Warner, but eventually proved an albatross as faster DSL and broadband cable internet passed it by.

Disruptive Technology is at it Again

This time it will spring on the market as super Wi-Fi blazing fast access to information on our iPhones, iPads and other gadgets if the FCC follows through and adopts rules that liberate the “white spaces” that vacant and now unallocated bandwidth between TV channels left over from killing off analog TV.  It has taken a while to get to this conclusion but an FCC study (http://www.fcc.gov/oet/) found that unused airwave white space can be used to expand and speed up broadband access and wireless communications across the country.

We need more fast broadband access to handle all the mobile devices we crave and to enable rural areas to have the same kind of high speed broadband access the urban areas have had.  So far this white spaces bandwidth is to remain unallocated so there is a first come, first served use rights to it without auctions or long procurement processes.  We better hurry up and put it to work before the Federal Government figures out the goldmine it is really leaving unallocated. Once all those smart phone, laptop and iPad users get their thirst for bandwidth quenched there will be no turning back.

So on September 23, 2010 the FCC is expected to approve rules to enable this super Wi-Fi to be opened for public use and gadget makers everywhere will start producing the new phones, appliances and capabilities for our laptops we have been waiting for so long.