updated 01:25 pm EST, Thu January 27, 2011
FCC OKs Google and 8 more for white space control
The FCC in an order on Thursday approved nine companies to be curators of the database for the newly opened up white space wireless. Google led the group and was joined by Comsearch, Frequency Finder, KB Enterprises and LS Telcom, Key Bridge, Neustar, Spectrum Bridge, Telcordia Technologies and WSdb. The firms will have knowledge of which frequencies are available in given areas and clear devices for use in those areas.
The decision to nominate Google drew unsuccessful objections from a number of companies, most of which were backing wireless communication that has either had to go away or has been at risk from using the white space frequencies between TV channels. The National Association of Broadcasters and Association for Maximum Service Television both complained that Google didn't say in detail for its management proposal how a given database would work. The Coalition of Wireless Microphone Users, some of whose wireless mics had to be tossed aside from the decision, also wasn't sure Google's methodology would work properly.
Key Bridge raised competitive concerns. It warned that Google would likely team up with device makers supporting white space wireless, such as those using Android or Chrome OS, and could have an unfair advantage by knowing details about a competing product while it's still in testing. Although unsaid, Apple if it chose to support white spaces on the iPhone or iPad could risk confirming a future model to Google.
Regardless of incentives, Google has been one of the strongest advocates of white space wireless as it has seen the technology as a way to rapidly spread access to the web. White space wireless has been likened to an extremely long range Wi-Fi since it's unlicensed but runs on frequencies low enough to reach wide areas rather than just individual homes or small public hotspots. It could be used by Internet providers to reach neighborhoods more easily but could also give individuals home connections they can still access from nearby streets. [via Forbes]