Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Wireless Networking Networking Television United States

Congress Wants FCC To Auction TV White Spaces 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the maximizing-profits dept.
GovTechGuy writes "Things don't look good for Google, Microsoft and other companies hoping to experiment with super WiFi and other technologies in unused TV channels or 'White spaces'. Both House Republicans and Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller are prodding the FCC to sell as much spectrum as possible at next year's incentive auction, which may not leave much for those hoping to advance the next generation of WiFi technology."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Congress Wants FCC To Auction TV White Spaces

Comments Filter:
  • by k6mfw (1182893) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:40PM (#44442077)
    instead of those with the big bucks owning huge lots of spectrum, FCC should regulate it like public roads and airspace to be sure everyone has a fair share and still follow the rules. It seems few corporations will get big slices so they can do whatever they want with it, and everyone else get scraps like 2.4GHz which become useless (classic example of tragedy of the commons).
    • by jythie (914043) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:48PM (#44442143)
      Sad thing is that is what the FCC is supposed to be doing. Limited resource for the public good, but the current meme of 'private enterprise is the solution to all problems' has twisted their mandate into enforcing who gets exclusive lucrative access to what is essentially a shared resource.
      • been there, done that. i'm a brit...
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Um, the free market doesn't exist in the US. Get over that fact.

        Secondly, you keep acting like the only motivation is for the FCC to let private industry profit from this without bothering to see that the US government is spending money like water and trying everything it can to keep up the pace of intake before it implodes. So while you're bullshit post tries to make us feel like the government is the victim to private enterprise the truth is that private enterprise is doing what it's suppose to, i

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why does the white space get special treatment?! What about the Black space or the yellow space or the red space?

      When will America treat TV spaces based upon its character and not upon its color?!

      When will the Black space get treated as a TRUE EMF that it deserves?!

      I have a dream ...

      OK, not going that far with my pun. I have a little class.

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)
        to be fair, the red space will always be at the bottom of the pack. violet space FTW!
        • by unitron (5733)

          to be fair, the red space will always be at the bottom of the pack. violet space FTW!

          Bottom of the pack?

          Let's unzip and compare wavelength.

          • by c0lo (1497653)

            Bottom of the pack?

            Let's unzip and compare wavelength.

            Believe me: when the sustained vibrations are slow (with a late trend towards being non-existent), the lenght becomes irrelevant!
            (judging by your ID, I shouldn't be the one to tell you. You should have already discovered it on your own).

      • Why is this modded down? Its an obvious joke, but its still funny.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @09:46PM (#44442521)
      I would like to see a system similar to the electric utility. A regulated company handles the actual towers and the mobile providers provide service and support.
    • I don't think that would work too well.

      This wonderful 2.4ghz "unlicensed free for all" utopia you speak of only works in the way you see it because devices that use it seldom reach beyond your domicile. So of course, you can have millions of them being all happy go lucky because they are too far away to bother one another on a large scale.

      But when you start dealing with devices that communicate over several miles, then you're going to run into problems. Especially when everybody decides that they all want t

    • I'm not usually for greater regulation in any sense...but here I totally agree w you. We shouldn't stifle innovation for cash.

    • by k6mfw (1182893)
      perhaps going off on tangent, I found a screen grab of thread on qrz.com discussing "new radio system at sub base fouling up garage door openers" and below is advertisment, "Garage Door Opener Repair: We've fixed all makes for 30 years." I save things like this, another gem was article about new Iranian stealth fighter and to the right is ad, "meet Iranian girls!"

      Other than that, topic of article was about garage door opener company put their devices on a freq in same band as Navy freq (I believe it was i

    • by flyneye (84093)

      Yeah, undoubtedly a better idea. I just wonder how GovTechGuy figures that Microsoft and Google will suffer ,impoverished, while others bid for whitespace. Gates, panhandling on a street corner was asked for comment; " I will work for food or money. Is that a bottle of Night Train?"....
      Who couldn't see Microsoft or Google owning whitespace and selling proprietary hardware to access it?

  • The CONgressMEN have sold us (US?) out, now they're selling out what they don't own, the electromagnetic spectrum. Is this a fire sale where everything must go?
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by bogaboga (793279)

      The CONgressMEN have sold us (US?) out, now they're selling out what they don't own, the electromagnetic spectrum. Is this a fire sale where everything must go?

      Don't you folks in the USA "preach" to the world that you've got the "greatest" democracy?

      I think it's in order to revise this mantra, no?

      • by innerweb (721995)
        Technically, not a Democracy, just a Republic. But, Dictators call themselves presidents, so who cares? As far as greatest... at what? We fail healthcare, education, crime, social division, racism, debt management. corruption, ... But for me it is the greatest. Not because of laws or anything, but my friends are all here. 8)
      • Maybe it's a bit like sex. Those that brag about it the most are the ones least likely to be getting any.
      • by slick7 (1703596)

        Don't you folks in the USA "preach" to the world that you've got the "greatest" democracy?

        I think it's in order to revise this mantra, no?

        Being the " greatest " doesn't mean there is no room for improvement. We surely could use some, however, it has to start, like cleaning, from the top down. Good luck with that. The other way is to throw out the whole mess and start over with a little more control, but you can see how that can devolve into a bigger mess. The best way is for the "top" to voluntarily start the change and then work its way down the system. Einstein said the solution to a problem must come from an aspect higher than the level th

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sell it all at any price. Rather than responsible fiscal restraints and a balanced budget (either by cutting spending, raising taxes or both) we're going to raise money by selling stuff. Biggest garage sale ever. Next we'll be auctioning off the animals at the Washington Zoo and photo ops with the guy in Grant's Tomb.

  • So congress is trying to pick winners and losers in the tech space?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by alen (225700)

      no, all frequencies are sold off to the highest bidder to do with as they please as long as they follow the rules for that block. only reason TV frequencies were free was because the stations agreed to free broadcasts

      • by unitron (5733) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @09:44PM (#44442503) Homepage Journal

        no, all frequencies are sold off to the highest bidder to do with as they please as long as they follow the rules for that block. only reason TV frequencies were free was because the stations agreed to free broadcasts

        When TV first came along, TV frequencies were licensed to broadcasters to operate "in the public interest", same as with radio.

        That was back before some gang of idiots got the idea to sell irreplaceable spectrum instead of just license or lease it.

        May they suffer many various and sundry unpleasantries the rest of their days.

      • Your sense of history is mistaken. Frequencies have differing propogation characteristics. In 1935 when the first FCA was signed, the FCC did what it could. Microwaves were a dream back then, and color TV as we knew it until HD was in the test stages.

        Various channels were laid out with space in between because receivers used tubes, and had thermal drifting problems. There were many kinds of television broadcasters and there still are. Certain segments allocated to TV require licenses that do broadcast witho

        • And more to the point: the allocations right now are pretty generous in the 5Ghz region. It takes only new and more interesting modulation techniques to double and double and double the data rates for those allocations. This has been done in WiFi and its antecedents many times now. It'll happen again.

  • by Bob_Who (926234) <Bob@wh o . n et> on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:52PM (#44442171) Homepage Journal

    They are bought and paid for.

    Its our bandwidth and they're selling it off to their corporate cronies.

    Where's the outrage, America ?

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Osgeld (1900440)

      the outrage should have been when they took all this space, kicked everyone off, gave out millions in 40$ coupons, made everyone with a tv antenna buy new boxes, amplifiers and arrays just to let the shit rot for a half decade

      least now when I cant watch the news it might be because there is something better in the air, not cause some half retarded president got talked into flipping the switch for no reason

    • by lgw (121541)

      Unless you plan to use that bandwidth with your mind it needs to be partitioned for specific commercial uses, so that companies call sell you products that benefit you.

      What's messed up is that, apparently in a quest to raise every last dollar possible without lowering spending or raising taxes, they're auctioning it all off as monopoly interests, rather than setting aside chucks for "any consumer device that follows there rules". That would still benefit companies, of course, but it wouldn't be granting mo

    • They are bought and paid for.

      Its our bandwidth and they're selling it off to their corporate cronies.

      Where's the outrage, America ?

      The outrage is in the same place the outrage against the NSA spying on U.S. citizens is. It aint. It sees today, apathy is our greatest product.

    • FCC doesn't care about the people. The government is supposed to regulate business so the businesses don't screw us so hard. The opposite is true now. Businesses buy off politicians so they can screw us twice as hard. I'll just leave this here. [nytimes.com]
  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @08:55PM (#44442191)

    unless google, microsoft and others agree to cover something like 80% of the US population with free wifi in the next 2-3 years there is no reason not to sell it off. why does it matter if we pay the cell phone carriers or google/microsoft?

    • by Anubis350 (772791)
      How would keeping it unlicensed for new wireless tech pay google/MS (I suppose you could argue indirectly in that their devices would be using the spectrum, but that's true of any cellular uses it could be used for too)
      • by alen (225700)

        why would google or MS offer free wifi access points?

        we have public wifi in NYC and you have to pay for it. wifi is useless unless the access point is connected to the internet

        • by Intropy (2009018)

          They wouldn't own that band anymore than Linksys owns the wifi band. Anyone with a device that obeys the band's rules could broadcast into it.

        • by Anubis350 (772791)
          What part of "unlicensed" do you not understand? The bands in question would be used as the current chunks of 2.4ghz and 5ghz spectrum are used for, say, 802.11a/b/g/n, bluetooth, etc if GOOG/MS have their way... This opens up new spectrum for many cool uses you could go buy a device that uses without having it run on someone's network, just like your current wifi router and BT mouse.
    • WiFi runs on ISM bands. Google, Microsoft, etc. wouldn't own those bands any more than they or anyone else own the current WiFi (ISM) bands. By contrast the cellular providers own the spectrum they buy.

  • Maybe I'm missing something, but why don't companies like Google et al just lease the parts of the spectrum they want then? Why is this bad news for them - b/c they have to shell out $ or b/c they won't be able to participate? If it's the latter, then that's a bummer, but the former? Drop some cash, damn.

    • by Intropy (2009018)

      They don't want to own the band, they want the band to be open for everyone and to produce devices that YOU can use in that band. The difference isn't like that between two tv stations. It's more like the difference between a tv station and everyone's walkie talkies.

      • So what if someone purchased or licensed it and then just made it available to all?

        • You mean like if a some group of people got together chipped in a bit of their income and organized to manage a community resource to help nearly everyone or generally benefit society? Well we'd need a set of rules for making sure everyone got a fair shake at it. Then we'd need some officers to oversee it. Oh wait, one of these groups already has the spectrum and they are about to sell it to private companies so they don't have to ask you for more money for other stuff.
  • Since when House Republicans have got something last time?

  • The 600MHz band is used for TV in most parts of the world. In non-USA places the old UHF 700MHz band is being sold for 4G networks, while 600 is still used to digital tv.

    More technology that can't be used anywhere by USA is of no concern to me.

    Maybe I'm just bitter because my government doesn't allow me any used of 900M and 1.2G.

  • Radio (waves and their regulations) isn't my area of expertise, but I think this is very short sighted. It seems a better use for this band would be to wait until a new technology or service comes is developed that could make good use of this band, until then, it should be public domain or off limits. I say this because producing innovative goods and services grows the US economy (and the governments tax income with it) since at the very foundation money is just an abstraction of energy/labor that is easy t
  • What Congress really wants is to strip away the possibility that some new innovation might happen within our borders, and bring jobs back into the country. This would result in real economic growth, and reduce the excuses to give Trillions away to their banker buddies as the Country swirls down the drain.
  • Easy fix (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Okian Warrior (537106) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:06PM (#44442967) Homepage Journal

    If you sell it like a fixed resource, you'll get high fees for access and discouraged use... like what we have now for phone and internet service (high monthly fees, data caps and rationed "minutes", kicking out high users, &c).

    If you owned a museum which was wildly popular (say, "Mecca" as a museum) you'd hike up the ticket prices as high as you could, and would be under no incentive to improve the experience. If, on the other hand you could only charge a fixed upper price per person, then you have incentive to push more people through the museum - you'd upgrade the infrastructure to handle more people.

    Change the model. If you have a fixed resource, sell it with the restriction that you can only charge for usage.

    If the spectrum was sold with the restriction that you could only charge $.02 per gigabyte or less, then companies could only make money by encouraging higher usage. Instead of high monthly fees and discouraged use, companies would encourage innovative new applications, home servers, and high bandwidth.

    The FCC could set the price equivalent to what is now charged under the fixed-resource model, so that companies wouldn't make any less than they do now.

    But the model will change: companies would have to compete for users by improving the experience and encouraging use.

    It's a Game Theory [wikipedia.org] thing.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      If you owned a museum which was wildly popular (say, "Mecca" as a museum) you'd hike up the ticket prices as high as you could, and would be under no incentive to improve the experience. If, on the other hand you could only charge a fixed upper price per person, then you have incentive to push more people through the museum - you'd upgrade the infrastructure to handle more people.

      It's a Game Theory thing.

      Funny that you picked Mecca. Saudi Arabia is & has been spending 10s of billions to upgrade or build roads, trains, elevated metro, housing, mosques and other infrastructure in and around Mecca + other holy sites.

      Why? Because game theory doesn't apply to everything all the time.
      An alternative explanation is that this is a really expensive way to continue 200 years of destroying religious sites around Mecca that the Wahhabis don't like

      /Their single metro line is the busiest line in the world and one of t

      • That's only going to last as long as their oil reserves continue to sell though. Their economy doesn't really produce much else (glancing at wiki indicates that only 10% of their GDP comes from non-oil sources.)

      • Funny that you picked Mecca. Saudi Arabia is & has been spending 10s of billions to upgrade or build roads, trains, elevated metro, housing, mosques and other infrastructure in and around Mecca + other holy sites.

        Why? Because game theory doesn't apply to everything all the time.

        So, you're saying that Mecca is, in fact run like a museum? You're saying that Saudi Arabia charges admission?

        Would your point be valid if Mecca weren't run like a museum?

        I'm not sure what you're saying here... if Mecca isn't being run like a museum and at the same time it isn't changed like it would be if it were a museum...

        Do you know a hawk from a handsaw?

  • That was a fast slashdotting. Running on DSL? Isn't there a way for Slashdot to test these sites first?

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      It's working fine for me.

      Sure the issue isn't your DSL?

    • That was a fast slashdotting. Running on DSL? Isn't there a way for Slashdot to test these sites first?

      Or, maybe Slashdot can post the CoralCDN link for the article [nyud.net] instead of (or alongside) the regular link?

      I know, there are plug-ins, GreaseMonkey and other ways of doing it, but on the user side.

      http://www.coralcdn.org/ [coralcdn.org]

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @11:33PM (#44443155)
    The various companies who want the spectrum should be able to make a few 2 minute spots, not be allowed to spend 1 cent marketing, and then have the public vote on their getting the spectrum. There should be none of this making them spend billions on the spectrum and then charge billions to us to use it. My guess is that the company that promised the best service would get the spectrum. This should be a run off system where there are run-offs with eliminations until one company gets 50% of the vote.

    Also companies should be able to lose their spectrum in the same way. Basically they would have to apply to keep it by describing what they did with it while other companies would describe what they would do with it. The threshold would need to be higher but if say 70% voted for a company to lose the spectrum it would be re-auctioned. In Canada the big 3 would lose all their spectrum.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

Working...