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Google to monitor unused white space across the US, take us one step closer to spectrum sharing

Sharif Sakr
03.04.13
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One of the biggest hold-ups in the global deployment of LTE and long-range WiFi is a lack of available spectrum. Even when a particular frequency is free and usable for mobile broadband, it's often officially reserved for some other purpose. Google's charitable wing, Google.org, has long claimed that as much as 6 MHz of white space kept aside for TV channels in the US is actually untapped, and now it's going to get a chance to prove the point. The FCC has just granted it a 45-day window in which to run a trial public database (linked below) to keep track of exactly which bits of spectrum are free in which parts of the country.

If all goes well, Google should find itself among up to ten other organizations that are allowed to supervise spectrum sharing -- in other words, allowing mobile devices to temporarily exploit available TV spectrum that isn't being used by the primary holder. Google's ultimate aim, we're told, is simply to "improve connectivity" at a global level. As to whether the other nine names on the FCC's list -- like Microsoft and Ericsson-owned Telcordia -- are equally altruistic, we have absolutely no idea.

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