Internet over TV, maybe

There seems to be a huge disconnect on the nature of the magic box proposed to the FCC by the Usual Suspects to reclaim whitespace abandoned by analog TV:

A coalition of big technology companies wants to bring high-speed Internet access to consumers in a new way: over television airwaves. Key to the project is whether a device scheduled to be delivered to federal labs today lives up to its promise.

The coalition, which includes Microsoft and Google, wants regulators to allow idle TV channels, known as white space, to be used to beam the Internet into homes and offices. But the Federal Communications Commission first must be convinced that such traffic would not bleed outside its designated channels and interfere with existing broadcasts.

The six partners — Microsoft, Google, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Philips — say they can meet that challenge. Today, they plan to give FCC officials a prototype device, built by Microsoft, that will undergo months of testing.

Is it a low-power, in-home system comparable to WiFi and UWB, or is it a high-power, long-distance service comparable to WiMax? Nobody seems to know, yet that’s critical to evaluating its usefulness. Anybody who knows, please clue me in.

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