Adventures in Smarshland

November 4, 2008

A Vote for Progress (NOT about the President)

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarsh @ 8:33 pm

Although all eyes seem to be turned toward the presidential race, another vote took place today that was largely overshadowed but shouldn’t have been.  The vote was for opening up the “white space” which is the RF bandwidth that is currently being occupied by television transmissions in analogue form.  With the U.S. switching to digital OTA broadcast early next year, this will free up a large amounts of bandwidth.  The FCC in what I hail as one of the most populist moves the federal government has made in a long time decided to open the white space bandwidth to “unlicensed devices”.  As a result, electronics manufactures can market products similar to 802.11 devices, but using RF frequency that have much better propogation properties.  Practically speaking this means broadband will likely become far more ubiquitious.  Urban areas will likely be able to set up mesh networks over long distances and rural areas will be brought into the fold for the first time.  Given how cheap modern 802.11 radio chips have become (less than $5.00 in many laptops), presumably devices for this new radio frequency will be able to be produced similarly affordably.  I think this will likely bring the price of broadband internet down dramatically.  It will likely solve the last mile problem once and for all.

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