Cable Group Doesn't Want to Free the Airwaves

The National Cable and Telecommunications Association has joined wireless microphone companies and the National Association of Broadcasters in poo-pooing Google’s hope of using the white spaces between digital television stations for wireless broadband. The association filed its objection with the FCC on Wednesday, claiming that white-space devices that have already been tested caused interference with cable channels, which, unlike broadcast channels, don’t have a white space signal buffer between signals.

In its letter, the industry association paints a dire picture of interference in the home and in the equipment leading into neighborhoods should Google’s plan to “Free the Airwaves” succeed.

To put this in perspective, every time a consumer in a single family home uses a personal/portable TV band device as currently proposed, its signal output will interfere with cable services. For example, a family member using a TV band device in one room for home networking could foreclose another family member from watching a particular TV channel in another room. The affected channel would go blank or be seriously degraded. The idea that a consumer could simply put more distance between the device and the television set is not a solution.

Despite the fact that cable guys sell broadband access services– and will sell wireless services one day — I’m sure the NCTA protest has nothing to do with trying to halt a potentially competitive service offering. Nope, nothing at all.