updated 04:20 pm EDT, Mon August 18, 2008
Google whitespace campaign
Google is aiming to bring public opinion to bear on white space technology, company bloggers have announced. As a member of the White Spaces Coalition, Google is pushing the FCC to authorize the technology, which would take advantage of the frequencies between over-the-air TV broadcasts to deliver broadband Internet, in some cases where it may not have been accessible before. The FCC is said to have completed testing on a second phase of white space devices, and should rule on their practicality "in the coming months."
To this end Google has generated a "Free the Airwaves" publicity campaign, in which it is pushing the public to write petitions to the FCC, contact politicians, and record video responses to be used as evidence of support. Google itself admits that an approval would greatly benefit its profits, increasing the number of people visiting its websites and viewing its advertising.
White space technology has proved controversial however, mainly with TV broadcasters, who are concerned it could interfere with their signals. This view may in fact have some validity, as an initial round of white space products generated serious problems in field testing.