U.S. FCC likely to open new airwaves; allow for supercharged Wi-Fi networks

Apple Online Store“When the Federal Communications Commission first approved the use of unlicensed bands of the airwaves decades ago, it began a revolution in consumer electronics — first in television remote controls and garage door openers, then in baby monitors and cordless phones, and most recently in wireless computer networks,” Edward Wyatt reports for The New York Times. “This month, the F.C.C. is likely to approve what could be an even bigger expansion of the unlicensed airwaves, opening the door to supercharged Wi-Fi networks that will do away with the need to find a wireless hot spot and will provide the scaffolding for new applications that are not yet imagined.”

Advertisement: Introducing the new iPod touch. Now with FaceTime, Retina display, HD video recording and Game Center. From $229. Buy Now.

“Just as broadband-ready smartphones could hardly be imagined in 1938, when the F.C.C. first approved the use of unlicensed radio waves, or even in 1985, when it issued the rules that led to Wi-Fi, the eventual consumer products that will use the new airwaves are all but unknown,” Wyatt reports. “‘I’m absolutely confident that there will be a huge range of applications that we cannot yet predict,’ said Dan Reed, corporate vice president for technology policy and strategy at Microsoft, which, alongside Google and Dell, has pushed hard for the F.C.C. to approve the new rules.”

Wyatt reports, “The unused bands of spectrum were generated by the conversion of television signals from analog to digital… The new airwaves are particularly attractive because television signals are low-frequency waves, meaning they can travel farther, go more easily through walls, trees and other obstructions, and provide more reliable connections… The F.C.C. is virtually certain to approve the new rules at its Sept. 23 meeting, because it already has approved a similar set of rules, in November 2008. Those rules have never been in effect, however, because both supporters and opponents of the concept objected to some of the details.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Betcha Steve Jobs has some ideas for uses of that spectrum should the new rules be approved.

A lot of people call [iPod touch] an iPhone without the phone. It’s also an iPhone without a contract.Apple CEO Steve Jobs, September 01, 2010

[Attribution: Times of the Internet. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “cj” for the heads up.]


  1. If that would enable longer-distance ISP connections, like to people whose only choice for internet connection is Satellite or dial-up, that would be pretty fantastic. Suppose that shook up everything, from Comcast, all the wired network connections, to television networks and telephone networks, we may be in for a world of change.

    At the least, it’d be great to have a better choice than latency-nightmare Satellite or low-speed dial-up for those of us in remote areas.

  2. @Kevin J. Weise
    I’m just think it’s the humane thing to do. Just look at all the trouble they’re having just staying alive. ATT couldn’t get mms to work, then it was trouble with tethering. They’re struggling with data of all kinds that they need to take away unlimited data plans. Android stepped in with life-support to keep the old birds alive but that was just cruelty in the face of the painful drawn-out death that awaits them. At least with this new wifi on steroids they’ll be spared the pain and anguish that awaits. Really it’s quite humane in my opinion.

  3. “I’m absolutely confident that there will be a huge range of applications that we cannot yet predict.”

    Dan Reed, Corporate Vice President for Technology Policy and Strategy, Microsoft.


    “I haven’t got a fscking clue what this all means, we’re going to wait to see what Apple comes up with and copy it, badly.”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.