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Fcc Likely to Open Airwaves to Wireless

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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this month is expected to approve the use of "white spaces"—unlicensed, TV-band airwaves that could lead to stronger, faster wireless broadband networks, which would serve as the framework for innovative applications. Analysts say the new airwaves will enable networks to extend broadband transmissions to rural regions and permit smart electric grids, remote health monitoring, and wireless Internet that is free of dead zones. "I'm absolutely confident that there will be a huge range of applications that we cannot yet predict," says Microsoft's Dan Reed.

The new airwaves are especially appealing because TV signals are low-frequency waves, which means that they can travel farther, more easily penetrate obstructions, and support more reliable links.

The first applications are likely to be wireless broadband networks that can cover entire university or corporate campuses, says FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. "But this will also be a platform for innovators and entrepreneurs," he says. "There is every chance of this leading to the development of one or more billion-dollar industries."

From The New York Times
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