Get on board the Super Wi-Fi express

 By Bob van der Valk

As expected the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a block of unlicensed spectrum on September 23, 21010 with hopes that it will boost the market for wireless Internet usage in sparsely populated areas like Eastern Montana.

Exactly what is Super Wi-Fi all about? Unlike current Wi-Fi airwaves, whose reach can be measured in feet, the new spectrum that would carry Super Wi-Fi will be able to travel for several miles because of its lower frequency. It will be able to go through brick walls; even something your current Wi-Fi struggles with. You can also anticipate an increase in download speeds for your computer to be about as fast as a direct wired cable modem.
The unanimous decision to sell off the so-called "white space" should see the widespread introduction of Super Wi-Fi, already being spot trialed across the country. It is the first significant block of spectrum to be sold off in 20 years and the FCC says it could generate as much as $7 billion in economic value each year.
“We know from experience that unlicensed spectrum can trigger unexpected but hugely beneficial innovation. For example, years ago, there was a band of low-quality spectrum that was lying fallow.  Nobody could figure out what to do with this so-called "junk band", so the FCC decided to free it up as unlicensed spectrum," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. 
"The result was a wave of new  <>  technologies – baby monitors, cordless phones, and eventually Wi-Fi as the real game changer: Today, Wi-Fi is a multi-billion industry and an essential part of the mobile ecosystem." he said. 
The move was opposed by police and firefighters, who wanted the frequencies reserved for emergency services and broadcasters concerned about interference.
AT&T and Verizon were also unhappy about the proposal - because the spectrum would likely be reserved for smaller carriers.
In its decision, the FCC aimed to appease most concerns by ordering that devices will have to be designed in such a way that they will not interfere with TV broadcast channels or wireless microphones.
For Prairie County it will mean easier and faster access to the Internet with all kinds of computer devices in areas currently not being served by your cable company. 

Published Oct. 20, 2010

Article Type: 
Guest Opinion


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