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Google may be getting all the advantages of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to start opening up more radio spectrum without even having to bid big at an expensive spectrum auction. The FCC’s decision earlier this week to open up white space spectrum, the slivers of […]

kev_larry3Google may be getting all the advantages of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to start opening up more radio spectrum without even having to bid big at an expensive spectrum auction. The FCC’s decision earlier this week to open up white space spectrum, the slivers of bandwidth between what’s being made available for the coming digital television stations, could eventually net the Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant as much as $5 billion more a year. Google President and Co-founder Larry Page said today at the Wireless Communications Alliance conference in San Jose., Calif., that using those so-called white spaces for broadband could lead to 20 percent to 30 percent more revenue — which means Google’s vocal support of spectrum openness is already looking like money in the bank. The company pulled in revenue of $16.6 billion in the last financial year.

Google has been frank about why it wants better public access to broadband, but Page made the case again. If it’s easier for people to search the web, he said, “we’d make a lot more money without changing anything about what we do as a business.”

During both an on-stage tete-a-tete with FCC chair Kevin Martin and a press conference afterwards, both men agreed there’s a general trend in industry, and even among regulators, to address ways to bring cheap and widely available broadband to as many people as possible. Verizon, for example, has to stick by FCC conditions about allowing gadgets other than its phones to operate on its network when it comes to its recently acquired 700 MHz-band win. But the company would probably extend those conditions to other bandwidths it owns, Martin said.

In terms of devices, Page argued that making $5 Wi-Fi radio chips that talk on all bands and protocols would help the push for openness. “We should do that. And we probably can,” he said. That also means regulators need to look more closely at where current spectrum policy is outdated, he added.

Image courtesy of Paul Kapustka.

  1. White space “spectrum farming” is the hottest thing that the FCC probably has every sanctioned. Imagine radios that automatically scan for a white space and then signal the specific receiver and then sync up for full-duplex comm’s on essentially “free” airspace. Software Defined Radio’s (SDR) will make this easy to implement.

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  2. [...] Google: Money for Nothing and Your Spectrum for Free [...]

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  3. [...] by the Internet,” which still sounds wholesome even as the company admits that such efforts benefit Google on the bottom line; and its apparent disinterest in benefitting directly from legislative or regulatory action, a [...]

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  4. It is much more that the slivers between broadcast bands that is being opened up. ALL of the space not currently used by licensed broadcast television and wireless mics will be free for unlicensed use. In rural areas this is hundreds of megahertz of highly desirable spectrum. Even in urban areas there will be much more spectrum available.

    This is enough spectrum set free to enable effective competition to the telco-cable duopolies and to disrupt the control of the broadcasters over content. In short, it’s a huge victory for Google for commercial reasons and for the rest of us for access reasons. More on sizing the opportunity here http://blog.tomevslin.com/2008/11/the-white-space.html

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  5. [...] Google: Money for Nothing and Your Spectrum for Free [...]

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  6. http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Voyant-International-Corporation-917727.html

    These guys are already manufacturing commercial-grade white space radio device not just for broadband, but also innovative uses such as long-range radio control of devices and data transmissions.

    Think smart traffic signals that’s solar-powered with LED signal lights, with software-defined signal processing, video streaming of traffic conditions, image/on-ground traffic sensors, automated with central control and central data processing. ALL WIRELESS and GREEN!

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  7. [...] and the ability to tie its products together. It’s also pushing wireless access through unlicensed bands such as whites spaces, and by investments in satellite companies. This takes carriers out of the equation (neutering [...]

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  8. [...] spaces, the attempt to deliver broadband between the channels in the digital TV spectrum, which was ultimately successful. So it’s trying its hand again, acting as a funnel for the millions of people who have [...]

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