Unused Digital TV Channels Could Increase U.S. Wireless Access

Increased access to wireless networks may be just around the corner. Before the end of the year, the House is expected to consider a provision proposed by Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA) that would force the Federal Communications Commission to decide whether "white spaces" -- empty broadcast-TV channels -- should be made available for use by unlicensed wireless networks. With both the House and the Senate having recently passed bills requiring television broadcasts to switch from analog to digital sometime in early 2009, the 700-MHz band (channels 52 to 69) will be cleared of programming and moved to lower frequencies (channels 2 to 51). The 700-MHz band will be set aside for public-safety emergency transponders and for bidding by wireless networks. According to the New America Foundation , the average TV market in the United States uses approximately 7 high-power channels of the 67 that it is allocated. This leaves an abundance of free channels that could be used for wireless access.
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