FCC Gets An Earful In White Spaces Flap
Among the latest groups to ask the FCC to approve the plan are the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, an umbrella organization made up of around 200 advocates including the AARP, American Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters of The United States, NAACP and the National Organization for Women.
"In the upcoming vote on Nov. 4, the Commission will have the opportunity to take a major step toward expanding affordable broadband access. We believe this will not only trigger major investment and innovation; it will help close the digital divide between those who have access to advanced telecommunications services and those who do not," the organization said Tuesday in a letter to the FCC.
At the same time, opponents to the proposal are stepping up their efforts to convince the FCC to delay its vote. Among the latest objectors are MGM Mirage and the agricultural organization National Grange, both of which filed documents with the FCC on Tuesday.
Generally, opponents are afraid that the allowing broadband on white spaces will interfere with other uses, including over-the-air TV and wireless microphones.
Supporters, including Google and Microsoft, say it will lead to greater broadband availability, largely because radio waves are powerful enough to transmit signals through walls and across large swaths of space.
The FCC two weeks ago released the results of a test, which showed that white spaces could be used for broadband without interfering with other uses of the airwaves, provided that spectrum sensing and geo-location techniques were deployed. But TV networks and other opponents say they need more time to study the tests.
Lawmakers have weighed in on both sides of the issue. At least six Congress members have asked the FCC to approve the plan, while at least 34 have expressed concerns.