Google, Microsoft Win Big With FCC ‘White Spaces’ Ruling

Despite the protests of broadcasters, numerous organizations and lawmakers, the Federal Communications Commission passed a rule allowing unlicensed, personal-portable devices to operate in the television spectrum known as “white spaces.” The rule is a victory for companies such as Google and Microsoft, which lobbied hard for the action and a blow to the National Association of Broadcasters and telecom companies, which claim that freeing up the spectrum may interfere with TV reception and wireless microphones.

The FCC insisted that both microphones and broadcast transmission would be protected by creating a database of the spectrum, opening up the spectrum to provide broadband data and other services for consumers and businesses.

But broadcasters fear the worse. “While we appreciate the FCC’s attempt to address significant issues raised by broadcasters and others, every American who values interference-free TV should be concerned by today’s Commission vote. By moving the ‘white space’ vote forward, the Commission appears to have bypassed meaningful public or peer review in a proceeding of grave importance to the future of television,” said Dennis Wharton, executive vp of the NAB.