Debate over frequencies in the air

John Dimsdale Nov 4, 2008
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Debate over frequencies in the air

John Dimsdale Nov 4, 2008
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Federal Communications Commission, the FCC today debates a proposal to more than double the air space used by wireless devices like cell phones and computers. Television broadcasters, though, warn that any new over-the-air data transmissions will interfere with signals. John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: The new air space becomes available next February, when television broadcasters go digital. That’ll free up frequencies in between TV channels — called white spaces — that Internet service providers are salivating over.

Michael Calabrese: High-tech companies, universities and consumer groups are all calling the TV white spaces the place where we could get Wi-Fi on steroids.

Michael Calabrese at the New America Foundation says the extra air space will generate all sorts of new wireless technologies.

Calabrese: The ability to move more data through more walls and over longer distances.

Calabrese says the new frequencies will deliver fast Internet service to hard-to-reach rural areas. But some TV broadcasters — and entertainers who use wireless microphones — say those airwaves should stay empty to avoid interference.

The FCC did find that computer and TV signals can be kept separate, and supporters of opening up the TV airwaves expect a favorable vote today.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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