Google pins hopes on whitespace

March 25, 2008 | 08:33

Tags: #broadband #radio #whitespace #white-space #wireless

Companies: #google

Just when you thought it was safe to invest in a mobile device supporting a particular wireless broadband standard, along comes another – and this time it's got Google behind it.

The search-stroke-advertising company is currently investing a lot of time and effort – not to mention money – in convincing the Federal Communications Commission to let it get its sticky mitts on radiofrequencies currently allocated to unused TV channels, otherwise known as 'white space'.

Alongside other technology companies including Microsoft and Dell, Google is hoping that exploiting these unused spectra will allow portable devices to support speeds of several gigabits per second.

Google's telecommunications counsel Richard Whitt has published an open letter to the FCC that he hopes will allay fears over the technology causing unwanted interference with TV reception. In a conference call announcing the letter Whit said “we're doing this because we want everybody to be satisfied with this process. We think it's the right time to put these ideas in the record and see where they go.

It's highly unlikely that Google are interested in the technology from the perspective of becoming a service provider. Much more likely is that the company sees the ultra-fast wireless broadband technology as a good way of putting eyeballs to adverts, and if it can do that via the Android mobile platform then all the better.

Even if the company gets its way, the US won't be seeing the benefits for a while yet. The 'white space' won't be vacated until early 2009 as the US switches analogue TV transmission off in favour of an all-digital system.

Google is clearly hoping the technology will go ahead, possibly more so than any other company currently hassling the FCC on this issue. Let's face it, it certainly has the money to see this one through – the open letter even talks about offering completely free technical support to anyone wanting to make use of the technology.

Do you agree with Google that getting ultra-fast broadband to mobile devices is the way forward, or would you like to see the industry come up with a decent wired alternative for desktops first? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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