Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Google To Offer Wi-Fi On Steroids...Could Mass Broadband Adoption Be Near?

Google is expected to offer wireless Internet on upcoming unused TV channels in February. By doing so they could create the grand slam versus the triple play to homes.

Google could prove once again that it doesn't need to build a network in order to be the key player for it.

Google is calling for unused portions of the broadcast television spectrum (channels 2 through 51) to be opened up, so as to create new broadband offerings with potentially faster speed and reach than Wi-Fi.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission released by Google on Monday, the Search Engine giant has called on the government to open up the so called "white space" unused channels on the television for unlicensed use in hopes of enabling more widespread, affordable Internet access over the airwaves.

In a March 21 letter, Google outlined the benefits of auctioning the unused television airwaves in real time to wireless Internet providers and others. Google’s proposed “dynamic auction”, which sounds similar to search ad auctions, would allow WiFi providers to bid on television signal airwaves that are currently not in use, awarding the space to the highest bidder at the time.

Google has unveiled plans to use the "White Space" between television channels in the US to create a " Wi-Fi 2.0 or Wi-Fi on steroids" less than a week after being "unsuccessful" in the 700Mhz spectrum auction in the US

Google said the "white space", located between channels 2 and 51 on TV sets that aren't hooked up to satellite or cable services, offer a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband access to all Americans."

White space devices could use the so-called white space in the current analog television spectrum (2MHz to 698MHz) to deliver wireless broadband service.

Moreover, the company is developing an open source platform for mobile devices which could use the available television airwaves to surf the Web, download software, and make calls. Handsets using Google’s “Android” platform will become commercially available this year, according to Google’s letter.

Some things to ponder:

Will a device that uses the "white space" be able to switch to other frequencies while mobile?
What are the distance capabilities?
How does this affect wireless providers, cable companies?
How could this affect Qualcom?

Who wins, who loses if this "white space" becomes Internet enabled?

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