Google unveils “white space” airwaves plans

Google Inc on Monday unveiled plans for a new generation of wireless devices to operate on soon-to-be-vacant television airwaves, and sought to alleviate fears that this might interfere with TV broadcasts or wireless microphones.

In comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission, the Internet leader outlined plans for low-power devices that use local wireless airwaves to access the “white space” between television channels. A Google executive called the plan “Wi-Fi 2.0 or Wi-Fi on steroids.”

“The airwaves can provide huge economic and social gains if used more efficiently …,” Google said in the comments.

Rick Whitt, Google’s Washington telecom and media counsel, said this class of Wi-Fi devices could eventually offer data transmission speeds of billions of bits per second — far faster than the millions of bits per second available on most current broadband networks. Consumers could watch movies on wireless devices and do other things that are currently difficult on slower networks.

The white-space airwaves could become available in February 2009, when TV broadcasters switch from analog to digital signals. Whitt said he expects devices using white-space spectrum could be available by the end of 2009.

Shares of Google surged $27.36, or 6.3 percent, to $460.91 amid a sharp rise in U.S. stock markets. The Nasdaq composite index was up 3.3 percent.

Google sees the white-space spectrum as a natural place to operate a new class of phones and wireless devices based on Android, Google’s software that a variety of major equipment makers plan to use to build Internet-ready phones.

The Silicon Valley company also said that, in general, it stands to benefit whenever consumers have easier access to the Internet. Google’s primary business is selling online ads as people perform Web searches.

Source- Reuters

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