Google has announced the launch of FreeTheAirwaves.com, a site that pushes for the unlicensed use of “white space” spectrum after the switch from analog to digital TV is complete next February. The initiative invites supporters to sign an online petition, hoping that public pressure will make the FCC cave in to the idea of giving up the spectrum for potentially free public broadband use.
These slices of unused spectrum between television channels called white spaces are the static between channels. Google wants the FCC to open up this spectrum to help expand Wi-Fi, improve broadband speeds and allow the internet to reach more people. But while the idea has its appeal, wireless service providers are unsurprisingly dead set against it. TV broadcasters are also against the idea, arguing that utilizing white spaces will interfere with existing television broadcasts.
In the end, the unregulated use of white space should be nothing more than a technical issue. The FCC recently completed field tests on spectrum interference and is expected to report its findings on those tests soon.