FCC pushed to finalize rules for “white spaces”

“We’re very excited about the upcoming ruling,”
said Liam Quinn, chief technology officer for client business at Dell, noting
that existing wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi have been around for more
than a decade. “I think the vision going forward is the true enablement of
connection at all times regardless of the device.”

The move to adopt white spaces for devices is expected to
significantly accelerate adoption of wireless broadband because the
low-frequency waves can travel through buildings and trees and cover a radius
of 50 miles with a single router.

Quinn said new routers would leverage the larger coverage
area to allow many more users to access the Internet for the same price as a
standard W-iFi router. He predicted the earliest adopters would be college
campuses, schools, libraries and other institutions that seek to provide
ubiquitous Web access but have thick walls that make it difficult.

In a separate action the FCC is expected to approve an upgrade to the E-Rate program, which seeks to provide high-speed Internet connections to schools, libraries and other community anchor institutions. Genachowski said Tuesday that participating institutions may be allowed to make use of unused fiber optic cable known as “dark fiber” to speed up their connections.

Internet service providers have resisted allowing schools to use dark fiber, lest they become competitors in offering the public high-speed broadband access.

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