Technology often does a pretty decent job of making the most of scarce or finite resources. But one such resource -- wireless spectrum -- remains a problem not just because it's finite, but because the regulatory environment around it often can't keep up with technology. For instance, in the spectrum used by analog TV broadcasts, the FCC mandates that there be a buffer of unused spectrum around the frequencies licensed to broadcasters, so their signals don't interfere with each other. But as technology has improved, those buffers have become less important, and given the desirable properties of this spectrum, there has been a lot of talk about making this "white space" available as unlicensed spectrum. The FCC wants to make sure that doing so won't interfere with licensed broadcasts, and to that end, Microsoft, Google and some other tech companies have delivered an MS-made device for testing to the FCC, which they say shows that the white space can be utilized without creating any interference. The prototype will undergo a few months of tests, and a decision on opening the white spaces could be made as early as July. With the importance of wireless technology, and in turn, wireless spectrum, increasing by the minute, it's imperative that regulatory bodies like the FCC change their policies to account for ever-improving technology and to make as much of the finite resource of spectrum available as possible. And when that technology makes it possible to open up more unlicensed spectrum -- as white-space advocates propose -- that's even better.
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