FCC Expected to Open Up More Wireless Spectrum
The last time this happened, it gave us TV remotes and cordless phones, now it will give us better Wi-Fi and wider connectivity. We're talking about the FCC allowing commercial use of certain bands of airwaves.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve more sections of the wireless frequency spectrum for commercial use , making it possible to improve wireless devices. Some industry experts are calling the technologies that could ensue "Wi-Fi on steroids."
Manufacturers can't have their devices send wireless signals on just any frequency. Such things are carefully regulated by the FCC so that signals don't interfere with important business or emergency services. When TV signals went to digital, it took up less room on the airwave spectrum. The FCC plans to let the public use them under a set of guidelines, similar to what they did in the 80s that eventually resulted in the Wi-Fi we use today.
Julius Genachowski, chairman of the FCC, told the New York Times that expanded Wi-Fi will be the first kind of deployment on the new spectrum, but this Wi-Fi will be powerful enough to cover an entire university campus instead of being confined to a set of hotspots. Many people believe that the most interesting applications of these new airwaves haven't even been thought up yet.
"But this will also be a platform for innovators and entrepreneurs," Genachowski said. "There is every chance of this leading to the development of one or more billion-dollar industries."
Experts believe the FCC is going to approve the new airwaves and the rules that govern their use during a meeting scheduled for September 23. A similar set of rules were already approved in late 2008, but some details have been in dispute since then.