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back to article Google flaunts white space wireless magic

Google is running its very own "white space" tests, as it continues to push a master plan to stream high-speed internet access over unused television airwaves. As part of the White Space Coalition, Google is one of the big-name high-tech outfits urging the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the use of personal …

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Happy

White Space Madness

Originally, I thought that Google was sending messages in white spaces between text. Somehow Google is using the space between the quotes: " " here to say something like, "Order me a large pizza, extra anchovies." I thought that was cool (ah, but what are they really saying between the words "large" and "pizza"?)

Then I realized that this was a story about some idiotic fight between local TV stations and Google. Yeah, like local TV has a chance. Tell ya what? Let's use the 70/70 rule. When 70% of your local audience can get broadcast television to function, using plain old 1950's rabbit ears, and when 70% of your potential audience actually uses rabbit ears, as opposed to cable or satellite, which are the sensible alternatives, then we'll talk.

I remember the days before cable (yes, I am a very, very old man). When our family moved to Suburban Southern California (some time between the Great Depression and the Dot-Com Boom) we could get 2 channels, locally, using broadcast receivers (the aforementioned rabbit ears). Later, our neighbors taught us that you can run a wire around the house to pick up better signal. Guess what? 2 channels. It seems like the local broadcasters are squatting on this signal space because they plan to...I don't know, seek rents? Are they passing it down to their next of kin? The space has been underutilized for years.

If Google wants to make use of it, I say let them. If they have a method for avoiding interference (something along the lines of a software-defined radio, perhaps) then OK, fine. Will Google be so stupid as to step on channel 51 while broadcasting on channel 52? Are we still in the dark ages? Can I rub two sticks together and light a fire? If the local channels are too incompetent to either over-power Google's feeble signal, or some how deal with this encroachment on their territory, they can either join or die.

I am not in favor of allowing local stations to be pointlessly unique for the purpose of uniqueness, per se. On the other hand, I am concerned that local programming will die out. If I am allowed to broadcast on say, the Milpitas Google 52 channel, and you out there in TV land can see my string band play on this awesome public access channel, I fail to see the problem. Now, if we can only wrest the broadcast rights away from the UC Regents, we could stream Cal Football games on the Internet.

Go Pirate Bears!

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Thumb Up

Yes Please!

I get the feeling this will be US only for a little while though!!

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go for it

I agree, google can't do any worse than 14 hours a day of the bloody shopping channel. Not so sure about MS though but if there are enough others involved it should be ok.

BTW, anyone got a link for a doc where MS admits they made a mistake with the first tests? I'd like a copy of this rare occurrence, normally they are called 'features'.

cheers

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Rob

"white space"

The term is guard bands.

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Tom
Silver badge

No it isn't guard bands, it is the "unused" stuff

You see they want to poke around and see if anyone is using the spectrum and then say "nobody here, I'll use it". The problem is that Google/Microsoft/etc. aren't the only ones who "use" the spectrum. In fact many wireless microphones (like the ones NFL officials use to say "Offside number 72 defense, five yards") hide out here. The signals start and stop all the time (get a spectrum analyzer out and have a look). Given that these are network devices, they send and receive at all weird times. The problem is that they are SUPPOSED to see if anyone is using the frequency. Good luck. Even if you can't hear anything (radio sense) doesn't mean that you won't interfere with something "vital". It just won't work!

We already have IEEE 802.11 devices that work quite well and have enough range to do the job. Why do we need this useless idea. Very costly, and little benefit!

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Broken prototype

If only Microsoft had to submit all their v1.0 products for government certification before they were allowed to sell them...

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As long as they do not interfere with Jack Bauer...

"...proof that Microsoft and the gang were dead set on destroying American television.".

Lord forbid the likeness of Jerry Springer, reality-soaps and wrestling dissappearing from the TV, or bieng interfered by somethign useful...

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Gates Halo

RF spectrum "only six percent used"...

...according to some tests, particularly during the very radio-active Republican Conventions in NYC before the current prez was first 'elected'. It's not just the TV channels, though with the shift to mux digital channels on one frequency this TV freq chunk may be the biggest, soonest amount of real "white space" available. look at the US frequency allocation chart, primary , secondary users (not forgetting the DoD has declared as SuperUser) it is currently so complicated as to be almost un-understandable.

Here in EU land, Viviane Reding has announced via DG INFSO on 13th November that she is creating a new European Telecom Market Authority, an EU FCC or even an EU SuperRegulator, one of the reasons for this is to ensure functionally separating dominant former monopolies from their physical network but also the aspects of introducing Spectrum Change to pay per use (per microsecond) or "the reform of Radio Spectrum Management" as DG Information Society put it.

forget the 3GPP 'long term evolution', I rather suspect that things will evolve more rapidly and Goooogle and micros~1 are welcome players in the arena. Certification is however needed due to device complexity and the fragility of *many* existing services.

you should see the things we're doing in OUR lab with Software Radio....

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Paris Hilton

NAB

The cynic in me suspects that the established broadcasters may be opposed to this sort of technology not on the basis that it may interfere with their signal, rather that it might lead to additional competition that'll interfere with their bottom line.

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Linux

White Propaganda Spaces.... a Coalition of the Willing?

Actually the debate/lack of debate is quite a bit more sinister for it is about content/broadcast propaganda and nothing really to do with how it is carried. Any "interference" is merely a euphemism for messaging off the establishment corporate, feeding trough key.

You know the thing ......"How dare they try to think for themselves whenever we have so much for them to do for us/keep us in the style we are used to"

Is that just too cynical or right on the nose?

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Alert

@ amanfromMars

"Is that just too cynical or right on the nose?"

Pretty dead on, if you ask me. The broadcast companies all seem to be saying. "We don't care if everyone drives cars now, you DO still need buggy whips to drive, we have the federal subsidies to prove it!"

Hmmph, I'm replying to amanfromMars... time to up the meds. Maybe The Register needs a WTF? icon.

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