In “WAVELENGTH WAR” – an Op-Ed piece in today’s NY Post – CUNY journalism Prof. Jeff Jarvis gives unqualified support to the Google ‘white space’ proposal to open up to community wireless IP the bandwidth freed by the changeover to digital tv.
From the article:
The National Association of Broadcasters […] has been trying to
stop the freeing of the white spaces. It argues that it
could interfere with its members’ signals.
Of course, it has another, unspoken fear: If we can all
watch – and make – any video we want anywhere anytime, we
won’t be prisoners to broadcasters’ channels anymore.
Only about 13 percent of Americans still watch TV over
antennae, anyway. This is really about competition, or
protection from it.
Also lobbying against Google at the FCC: mobile-phone
companies – who likewise fear competition. When we can get
fast bandwidth on portable devices, we can use those
gadgets to do anything from making phone calls to browsing
In other words, kiss those old phones and two-year
contracts goodbye and turn to new, open devices that run
software from – you guessed it – Google.
Phone companies want the FCC to license exclusive use of
this spectrum to them so they can rent it to us. Google
would rather show us ads.
Entertainment, sports and medical interests also worry
that use of the white spaces could interfere with their
microphones and wireless devices, which use those
But the FCC has been testing methods to ensure that
devices won’t interfere with each other – as wi-fi isn’t
affected by microwave ovens even though they operate on
the same frequency. Google’s Page says he’s confident
there are methods to guarantee against interference. And
when it comes to technology, I tend to trust Page and his
allies in the fight: Microsoft, Philips, Dell, Intel and
The government shouldn’t be protecting the entrenched
interests and faltering business models of legacy
industries like broadcast, cable and phone. Instead, the
FCC should be encouraging competition in the marketplace
and sparking innovation – especially in an arena so
critical to the strategic health of the American economy.
And shouldn’t the FCC be standing up for the consumer,
helping to get everyone better service at a lower cost? I
vote with Google on this.