Google, Microsoft Lobby for FCC to Set Aside Spectrum for WiFi, LPTV


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google-1088003__180 (1)The ongoing FCC spectrum auction will reshape the landscape for wireless carriers and broadcasters. As both vie for spectrum, a battle is emerging between low-power television broadcasters and internet companies like Google and Microsoft, reports

At stake in this battle is unused spectrum, or “white space.” The FCC spectrum auction is designed to incentivize television owners to sell their spectrum to wireless carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

Internet companies like Google and Microsoft are petitioning the FCC to reserve a block of spectrum across each broadcast market that can be used for wireless devices. Low-power broadcasters object to such a plan, as it will push stations like them off the air.

“In the game of spectrum musical chairs, they’re afraid that when the music stops, there might not be a chair left for one or more (low-power) stations,” director of the Wireless Future Project at the Open Technology Institute told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Those who object to reserving space for wireless devices cite the importance of local broadcasting to communities. Low-power broadcasters often carry programming aimed toward rural and minority populations, as well as feature religious programming.

January 18, 2017

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