updated 04:05 pm EDT, Mon April 14, 2008
CTIA On White Space
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association today lent support to a movement for new wireless standards by asking that the US government officially license white space frequencies. The organization, which typically represents carriers, is opposing attempts by the Google-backed White Space Coalition to develop and used devices with the deliberately blank spectrum on grounds that the technology could create problems for existing services. By leaving little to no gap between one frequency band and another, new companies using the service could create interference on existing services or cut out space that could be used for background portions of established, licensed networks, the CTIA claims.
The organization also argues that licensing the space would also allow for new companies that could offer services that often require licenses today, such as national, wide-area wireless Internet providers.
However, the move is believed to in part be an attempt to reserve the space for incumbent providers, which are more likely to have the necessary money on hand to pay for an FCC license than newcomers. Google as well as fellow hardware and software producers Dell, Microsoft, and Philips have argued in favor of keeping white spaces unlicensed to allow for low-cost or free services on the airwaves.
These manufacturers have hoped to develop technology that would use white space as early as the end of 2009 but have faced multiple roadblocks in successfully developing test devices.
In contrast, licensed spectrum typically costs several billion dollars for national rights and has required that even large firms such as AT&T take on debt to pay for the newly acquired space.