TV Or Connectivity: That Is The Question

Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt has been hitting the hustings to promote the concept of ubiquitous wireless broadband in the UHF spectrum band currently occupied by broadcast televisions stations. Hundt says that the current direction the US is taking is towards allowing wireless broadband services to be provisioned on unlicensed spectrum at or above 2GHz, but that this microwave spectrum is ill-suited for a ubiquitous wireless broadband network. (A rule of thumb is that if you double frequency, you reduce range by half, and also reduce wall penetrating ability). If the FCC were instead to open up some former UHF TV spectrum (in the 700MHz band) for unlicensed wireless broadband, a spate of services would be enabled with much better economics than at 2+GHz, because antennas could be spaced much farther apart, and would have longer ranges. This all sounds reasonable to us, and we certainly think people would benefit more from better Internet access than from more Teletubbies reruns over wasteful analog TV broadcasts. This country needs to get rid of analog TV broadcasts. Analog TV broadcasts over today’s airwaves are like horse-and-buggies on Interstate highways – we have much better technologies now, and the lingering old ones are blocking the benefits of the new ones.

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