Google, Microsoft To Invade White Space?

    March 13, 2007

When Google, Microsoft, Dell, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard team up, you know big things are a-happening.  In this case, all five companies want to make the Internet accessible through traditional television airwaves.

The idea sounds farfetched, even wacky.  Yet with such a powerful coalition behind it (including other members not mentioned here), and a reputable source (The Washington Post’s Charles Babington) reporting on said coalition, we can be sure that this isn’t a joke or a hoax.

Then again, it’s not a sure thing.  “The coalition . . . wants regulators to allow idle TV channels, known as white space, to be used to beam the Internet into homes and offices,” reported Babington.  “But the Federal Communications Commission first must be convinced that such traffic would not bleed outside its designated channels and interfere with existing broadcasts.”

Government testing begins today on Microsoft’s implementation of the technology.  As to how it will fare, some feel that “the available white-space spectrum might be too limited to make much of an impact,” while others believe that the technology may “make the most sense” only in rural settings.

Don’t tell the coalition members these things, though – they have the utmost confidence in their project.  Some potential competitors seem worried that it will work, as well.  J.H. Snyder, the New America Foundation’s research director, told MarketWatch, “The telephone companies are terrified they’ll lose 40% of their wireless minutes, because you’ll be able to connect from work or home and bypass their wireless networks.”

That doesn’t sound too bad to me.  Go, Google, Microsoft, Dell, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard, go.

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