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Obama To Nearly Double the Available Broadband Wireless Spectrum

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the build-us-more-airwaves dept.

Government 194

suraj.sun tips news that the Obama administration announced today plans to free up roughly 500MHz of the wireless spectrum for commercial broadband. From the Washington Post: "The commitment backs a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission to auction off broadcasters' and government spectrum to commercial carriers that envision their networks running home appliances, automobile applications, tablet computers and other wireless devices. White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers said in a speech outlining the president's plan that freeing up more spectrum will spur economic growth through auctions of the airwaves and investment in wireless networks and technology. ... The FCC has proposed that 280 megahertz of spectrum come from broadcasters and other sources, 120 of which would come from broadcasters. The other 220 megahertz would come from the federal government's holdings managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration."

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194 comments

where's the birth certificate (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720630)

Why has Barack Hussein Obama still not released his birth certificate?

Re:where's the birth certificate (0, Offtopic)

iivel (918436) | about 4 years ago | (#32720698)

Really? That crap again....

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/06/obama-birth.html [latimes.com]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_citizenship_conspiracy_theories [wikipedia.org]

I could find plenty more confirmations for you.

Re:where's the birth certificate (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720946)

It's funny. I never used to buy it that Obama was foreign. It was amusing, and whatever, but why would a guy waste hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions by now, to prevent people from seeing his real birth certificate.

What is shown is not a birth certificate. Any person, from any country, can receive that type of certificate from Hawaii.

It is simple to find a real birth certificate from that era (1961) to confirm (it would be a copy anyway, but it would still be the same type of form), and, in fact, a woman born the day after has had her birth certificate released to show what it really looks like. It looks nothing like what was released and there is a lot more information.

Click through some of the links here: https://encrypted.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&q=hawaii+birth+certificate+1961

The second link from the above search contains pictures from birth certificates from Aug. 5, 1961 (Obama's DOB: Aug. 4, 1961): http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=105347

You'll note what some of the birth certificates look like. They actually contain the hospital for instance.

Re:where's the birth certificate (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720984)

Yes, that crap again. It will continue for as long as Obama is president (and probably some time after.)

The Birthers don't believe your links because they don't want to.

Obama's birth certificate is presented, they say "it's forged! We need witnesses!"

Witnesses come forward and say it's geniune. Birthers then say "I don't trust those witnesses! I want corroboration from someone I trust."

Trusted people [wikipedia.org] come forward and say it's true, and the birthers then claim "I still don't believe it! I need actual proof!"

If the heavens parted and Jesus Christ himself sailed down from his throne and declared that Obama was born in the US, the birthers would likely just reply "Wow - Obama is trying too hard - he must be hiding where he was born!"

Re:where's the birth certificate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720712)

what does that have to do with anything in this article?

Re:where's the birth certificate (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720792)

Why has Barack Hussein Obama still not released his birth certificate?

Because people like you would know the truth then and have to be murdered. He's saving your life.

Re:where's the birth certificate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720816)

TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE!

I don't get the joke though.

Filter filter filter filter filter filter filter filter.

All that extra bandwidth for a first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720670)

I dunno, it seems first. Weird - I've never seen an empty /. thread

Re:All that extra bandwidth for a first post? (-1, Offtopic)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 4 years ago | (#32720688)

Yup, too bad it got wasted on a Obama troll.

Oh that's nice (1, Insightful)

shoehornjob (1632387) | about 4 years ago | (#32720726)

And how much are they going to charge us for that? I'm paying too much already for my internet, cable and phone. Thanks but no thanks. I assume this is for the people in rural area's that don't have any internet to speak of. I'm sure the company they sell it to will continue the status quo and provide bare minimum to rural area's. No news here move along.

Charge YOU? (4, Interesting)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | about 4 years ago | (#32720818)

How much are YOU getting charged to auction the spectrum off to the carriers? I don't get it. Especially since there actually is a lot of competition in the wireless market lately - it's worth noting that we're starting to see unlimited data plans on various 4G networks that rival the speeds and monthly costs of landline broadband.

Re:Charge YOU? (5, Informative)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | about 4 years ago | (#32721112)

Thats a big part of the problem... They are going to Auction it off.. The 700mzh spectrum they auctioned off 2 years ago is still not yet deployed... for the most part Carriers are Buying up spectrum to prevent competition.. What is needed in the US market is more lightly Licensed Spectrum like the 3.65-3.7 that the smaller companies can afford to use so that there is some competition... right now all the unlicensed band is consumed where there is any population density and the 3.65-3.7 is just too small to make much of a difference.. not to mention the license for it is broken.. As it only takes 1 person in a area to make the whole spectrum unusable and there is no recourse for anyone to take to get them to properly use the spectrum.

Re:Charge YOU? (1)

electron sponge (1758814) | about 4 years ago | (#32721580)

for the most part Carriers are Buying up spectrum to prevent competition

I wonder if there's any way of telling them "use it or lose it"? IANAL

Re:Charge YOU? (2, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | about 4 years ago | (#32721858)

Also, kind of annoyed me Slashdot reported so well right up to the auction, then gave the results... then not one word about the billions of dollars in revenue the US collected from the auction, which was the whole reason I was following the story in the first place. Where the hell did the money go? Why isn't anyone following it??

Re:Charge YOU? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 4 years ago | (#32721992)

The money went into a general slush fund I'm sure. Good luck tracking that down.

Re:Charge YOU? (0, Troll)

catmistake (814204) | about 4 years ago | (#32722238)

$19.6 Billion is just too much money to just ignore and let go missing. Each and every citizen has been hoodwinked out of $65 by Uncle Sam. Thanks for all the help, Google.

Re:Charge YOU? (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 4 years ago | (#32722366)

Wouldn't it be wonderful if people in America started to connect the dots...Any time a bank or oil company or wireless carrier or ANYTHING is taxed, charged, fined, or purchasing anything from Gov., the users and buyers are the ones that pay for it. Why in hell would anyone want to tax banks? So you can pay higher fees for your account. Why would you want to tax oil exploration? So you can pay more at the pump. Why would any get excited about billions going to the government in fees, when in the end the people of America will be paying for it. There is little income to the government that the poor, middle and rich folks in America don't end up paying for one way or another.

WAKE UP!!!!

Re:Charge YOU? (2, Funny)

cowscows (103644) | about 4 years ago | (#32722698)

Wait a minute... so you're saying that when things need to be paid for, people end up paying for it? Wow, that's some amazing insight there.

Drak. There goes my TV (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32721878)

They are taking 120 megahertz from broadcasters, which is equivalent to subtracting 20 slots on the DTV spectrum (where each slot can hold 3-5 channels each). What a crock. I don't want to subscribe to Comcast. They charge $60 a month, plus $5 for each extra TV, plus 6% tax on top of that. AND their prices keep going up and up. (Basically 2.5 times more than what I paid in 2000.)

And the government used taxpayer money - spending almost 1 billion to hand-out subsidzed converter boxes and eduation programs for the June 2009 DTV transition. So what? That money just goes to waste now???

Look at all these channels I get. FREE. I don't understand why they want to take it away. What's next? We lose our Shortwave, AM, and FM Radio too?
ABC
CBS
FOX
NBC
CW
PBS
PBSarts
PBSworld
PBSkids
MyNetTV
Univision
Telefutura
TBN
ION
Wellness Channel
thisTV movie channel
Retro Network
Global (foreign language shows/movies)
Link (foreign news)
MiND (mostly educational)
JCTV
Smile-of-a-Child Network
Qubo
IONlife

plus 9 independents showing syndicated (Rome, Star Trek, Deadliest Catch, etc) and movies

Re:Drak. There goes my TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32722086)

Well, when the government GAVE away, for free, those frequencies to networks, the networks started renting subchannels to others, making a profit on frequencies we used to own, that those networks obviously didn't use.

But I do think NO auctions should take place...have companies RENT those valuable frequencies instead. Why sell radio spectrum the public owns to companies who will then own them in perpetuity? And, as time goes on, frequencies will become much more valuable, as there aren't any new frequencies being "grown" by the Universe.

Re:Drak. There goes my TV (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32722274)

Anonymous Coward wrote:
Well, when the government GAVE away, for free, those frequencies to networks

Say what? -1 Wrong. Every local station PAYS for their frequency. The FCC collects over a billion dollars each year from TV broadcasters, plus requiring broadcasters to SERVE the public by providing news, weather, emergency and government announcements for Free (rather than charge $50 a month like cellphone providers).

Re:Oh that's nice (1)

pavon (30274) | about 4 years ago | (#32720896)

I'm sure the company they sell it to will continue the status quo and provide bare minimum to rural area's.

No, "wireless broadband" is code for mobile data plans. Considering how each increases in speed/bandwidth for cellphone technology have always come with decreases in range, rural areas are going to be the last to see this technology if they ever do.

Re:Oh that's nice (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32722178)

Good point.

If the government really wants rural residents upgraded from Narrowband dialup to Broadband, the quickest and cheapest answer is use the existing phone lines for DSL. (Or existing cable tv lines for internet.) There's no diffing required because the lines are already there. You might need to add a DSLAM or DOCSIS router to each city block (or equivalent), but that doesn't cost that much. The expense can be taken out of the Universal Service Fee charged each month.

Plus wireless makes little sense. You get ONE spectrum and that's it - why base our future net on a limited resource? With wired internet you can get as many spectrums as you need (one per cable)
.

Re:Oh that's nice (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32722348)

Correction:

There's no [digging] required because the lines are already there. If Congress mandated it, phone and cable TV customers could have nearly all rural residents on DSL or Cable broadband by the end of the year. - It might take a little longer for Farmer Bob living in Nowhere Idaho but it would still be faster than waiting for Farmer Bob to get a cell tower installed near his cattle ranch. AND it would get done quickly and cheaply
.

 

Re:Oh that's nice (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 4 years ago | (#32720932)

This has absolutely nothing to do with how much you pay for communications services. (And I agree, it's way too much, though why any sane person even has Cable TV any more is a mystery.) It's just a reallocation of wireless resources. It might actually help your bill a little, by creating some competition.

If you want to do something besides whine, start agitating for the breakup of the big media monopolies.

Re:Oh that's nice (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32722434)

>>>why any sane person even has Cable TV

If my brother was here he'd probably say he doesn't know how to get TV over the net, and it's "just easier" to flip channnels on the set like he's done the last ~50 years. OTHER people claim watching TV on a computer is not relaxing and they want to be able to watch with their wife & kids on the big screen. Basically they are paying for simplicity and convenience

Re:Oh that's nice (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#32720944)

And how much are they going to charge u's for that? I'm paying too much already for my internet, cable and phone. Thank's but no thank's. I assume this is for the people in rural area's that don't have any internet to speak of. I'm sure the company's they sell it to will continue the statu's quo and provide bare minimum to rural area's. No new's here move along.

FTFY.

Re:Oh that's nice (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 4 years ago | (#32720950)

These used to be TV channels. This is why we all switched to digital TV, to free up this spectrum. That process had always anticipated the spectrum would be used for wireless, cellular or broadband uses.

The process was started a good ten years ago, and signed into law in prior administrations, (yet in this all things to Chairman Mao world, Obama gets credit).

These frequencies are generally in the 700mhz band, below the 800 band used by some cell phones. These freqs have better building penetration and range than do the higher bands in the 2100mhz block often uses by cell carriers. Fewer towers cover larger areas, with better penetration. Its all good.

Especially in rural areas, the greater range makes sense.

But yes, you will pay for this spectrum AGAIN, after TV stations vacated it (did they get any money back?) the carriers will purchase the licenses, and eventually (don't hold your breath) put broadband and or cellular devices in this space, and charge you for the privileged of using it.

TINSTAAFL

Re:Oh that's nice (2, Interesting)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 4 years ago | (#32721318)

But yes, you will pay for this spectrum AGAIN, after TV stations vacated it (did they get any money back?)

Since they didn't pay any money for it in the first place, it's difficult to see why they would ever get some back.

Re:Oh that's nice (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32722596)

>>>Since they didn't pay any money for it in the first place

-1 Wrong. TV stations pay the FCC over 1 billion *each year* for their frequencies. They are also required to be free-of-charge (i.e. they can't chage you $50 a mont like a cell company, or $1 a month like TNT, USA, et cetera). Providing free service is costly - just ask UPN or WB or CW or NBC. The first two went bankrupt and CW/NBC are on the verge themselves.

Re:Oh that's nice (0, Flamebait)

rev_sanchez (691443) | about 4 years ago | (#32721348)

TV stations leased the band, they didn't buy it. It's owned by the public as in public airwaves. The public took it back and they can lease it out again.

Obama got credit for this in the headline but he isn't behaving as if this were his project so the only jackass here is you with your childish, ignorant Chairman Mao comment. You made the world a little dumber today.

Re:Oh that's nice (2, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | about 4 years ago | (#32721668)

The public took it back and they can lease it out again.

      Unfortunately "the public" means "the government". So "the government" will auction the spectrum off to the highest bidder among its corporate bedfellows, and the real public "ie you and me" will have 1) absolutely no say in it and b) have to fork up another tax or fee to use "the public" airwaves.

Re:Oh that's nice (2, Informative)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 4 years ago | (#32722444)

A slice of that spectrum was already given to Fire Departments. Effective 7/1

Re:Oh that's nice (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32722530)

>>>after TV stations vacated it (did they get any money back?)

(1) My reading of the article is that this is a NEW taking of spectrum - channels 32 to 51 will be removed and leased to cellphone companies. (2) The TV stations that lost channels 52 to 69 were given new spots, so they didn't lose anything. Some of the poorer "neighborhood" stations received financial handouts to convert from analog to digital but that's it
.

Re:Oh that's nice (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#32721002)

I assume this is for the people in rural area's that don't have any internet to speak of.

Plenty of areas with no cablemodems. Rural countryside is great for wireless ISP service.

But wireless ISP service, to the best of my knowledge, is not running out of RF bandwidth.

So, at least for them, more bandwidth is a solution in search of a problem?

Re:Oh that's nice (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#32722750)

DSL or Cable is about $20 a month for ~250 gigabytes. Wireless is much, much, much more expensive for equivalent 250 GB service. So how is wireless "great" for rural reidents??? Hell even satellite internet would be a cheaper option.

I have a friend whose dad is stuck on dialup. I looked at wireless but it's beyond his budget (retired). I also looked at satellite - not available. Meanwhile he has perfectly good phone and cable lines running to his house which could be used for internet. The Congress needs to get off its marble ass and MANDATE that he & other rural residents can get their lines upgraded to DSL and Cable internet service. This could happen in just a few months
.

Wow... what a worthless article (4, Insightful)

ka9dgx (72702) | about 4 years ago | (#32720782)

It doesn't give any specifications about what frequency ranges. 500 Mhz is a lot, if it starts at 0Hz, it's pretty much priceless... if it starts at 60Ghz... not worth very much at all.

As far as freeing it up.... if it's for commercial use, instead of for networking peer to peer, what good is it for any of us? The monopolies will buy it up, and fight over it, and bill us with a profit margin along the way, while we get crap.

Free up what used to be the UHF TV spectrum for peer to peer use, and we can do a lot to fix the last mile problem.

That's my 2 copper cents worth.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

sribe (304414) | about 4 years ago | (#32720914)

It doesn't give any specifications about what frequency ranges. 500 Mhz is a lot, if it starts at 0Hz, it's pretty much priceless... if it starts at 60Ghz... not worth very much at all.

??? A 500mHz band has the same data capacity regardless of whether it starts at 0Hz or 60gHz. Or did your comment have to do with range and penetration into buildings? Or practicality of building transmitters & receivers?

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32721268)

It doesn't give any specifications about what frequency ranges. 500 Mhz is a lot, if it starts at 0Hz, it's pretty much priceless... if it starts at 60Ghz... not worth very much at all.

??? A 500mHz band has the same data capacity regardless of whether it starts at 0Hz or 60gHz. Or did your comment have to do with range and penetration into buildings? Or practicality of building transmitters & receivers?

I've got some primo YHz frequencies for sale. It's like 15 better than GHz.

Also selling some oceanfront property in Kokomo, Indiana (You hear that Beach Boys song, right? Way down in Kokomo?) and a large San Francisco bridge.

Reply if you are interested.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32721740)

Pfft. I live in Kokomo, IN. Everyone is selling property here. Get in line.
http://www.ibrc.indiana.edu/ibr/2009/outlook/kokomo.html [indiana.edu]

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (5, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | about 4 years ago | (#32721690)

??? A 500mHz band has the same data capacity regardless of whether it starts at 0Hz or 60gHz.

At ~2.5Ghz you hit the resonant frequency of water mollecules, and any signals you send through the lower atmosphere are guaranteed to be attenuated in a rather short distance. At 60GHz, you actually hit the resonant frequency of OXYGEN, which means the signal is going nowhere fast.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 4 years ago | (#32722342)

Nah, water doesn't really start to ruin your day until 24 GHz. Water doesn't do anything special at 2.5 GHz, regardless of the chorus of canard-wielding canaries who will claim that's why microwave ovens work there.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32721900)

That's not an entirely true statement.

Technically, yeah, 0-500GHZ and 60-60.5GHZ can carry the same amount of data.

And yes, 0-500mhz is more valuable than 60,000mhz-60,500mhz, because of its ability to ignore matter.

You however, neglect the fact that these two points are NOT mutually exclusive.

Since the lower range has a better chance of reaching its target, you can pack more data in with less of a worry of losing data.
Since you have to worry less that data will be lost, then you don't require as much overhead for handshaking in the transmission protocols, further freeing up more space.

things are not as simple as they may appear

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (2, Interesting)

Dan Ost (415913) | about 4 years ago | (#32722570)

A 500mHz band has the same data capacity regardless of whether it starts at 0Hz or 60gHz.

Umm, you know that's not even remotely true, right?

The higher the frequency, the higher the potential data rate. However, the higher the frequency, the further apart the "channels" need to be to prevent them from interfering with each other. Also, different frequencies have different propagation/absorption characteristics.

So a 500MHz band could be extremely valuable or worthless depending on where in the band plan it is.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

toastar (573882) | about 4 years ago | (#32721012)

...

Free up what used to be the UHF TV spectrum for peer to peer use, and we can do a lot to fix the last mile problem.

That's my 2 ZINC cents worth.

ftfy

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | about 4 years ago | (#32721146)

GP could have old pennies.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

toastar (573882) | about 4 years ago | (#32721824)

GP could have old pennies.

Yes, but what good is a 50 year old idea.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

Carnth (609080) | about 4 years ago | (#32721144)

Free up what used to be the UHF TV spectrum for peer to peer use, and we can do a lot to fix the last mile problem.

I though the UHF frequencies are now being used by ATSC "over the air HDTV."

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#32721298)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_broadcast_television_frequencies [wikipedia.org]

Massive channel shuffling happened as part of the NTSC to ATSC conversion. The "Channel marketing name" has little relationship to the RF carrier frequency now.

Basically UHF 70-83 disappeared in the 80s, UHF 52 to 69 just disappeared.

The article is probably either a journalist just noticing 52 to 69 disappeared 13 months ago, or maybe a new plan to get rid of VHF-Lo channels 2-6 and VHF-Hi 8-12.

Wouldn't be much of a loss. You have to realize that outside of NYC or LA, there is plenty of open spectrum.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 4 years ago | (#32721744)

As far as freeing it up.... if it's for commercial use, instead of for networking peer to peer, what good is it for any of us?

I don't know about you, but I LIKE having unlimited cell phone + data service for under $50/month. I certainly wouldn't depend on the availability of wifi hotspots for my phone service (at least without a fallback to cell towers).

I also like that the government is getting money for the spectrum and using them to provide services to all of us, rather than raising income taxes.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

MindSlap (640263) | about 4 years ago | (#32722126)

"using them to provide services to all of us, rather than raising income taxes."
========

You must be new...to the US.

Re:Wow... what a worthless article (1)

tkohler (806572) | about 4 years ago | (#32721752)

That's my 2 copper cents worth.

Cents (at least US$) are made of Zinc.

Useless, just like 1700 MHz AWS (5, Insightful)

LittlePud (1356157) | about 4 years ago | (#32720820)

Unless they somehow allow the 900/1800/2100 MHz bands to be used with the existing international standards, new frequencies will just lead to more market/tech fragmentation.

And Obama revives SWIFT... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720856)

EU, US sign SWIFT terror finance deal, overcoming privacy worries [dw-world.de]

The European Union and the United States have signed a deal allowing the banking data of ordinary Europeans to be sent to the US for investigation. Washington hopes the agreement will help it track terrorist financing.

This is not the change you're looking for...

Re:And Obama revives SWIFT... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720920)

EU, US sign SWIFT terror finance deal, overcoming privacy worries [dw-world.de]

The European Union and the United States have signed a deal allowing the banking data of ordinary Europeans to be sent to the US for investigation. Washington hopes the agreement will help it track terrorist financing.

This is not the change you're looking for...

STRENGTH IS PEACE AND PEACE; STRENGTH, SIR!

Re:And Obama revives SWIFT... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32721052)

Just an FYI, but all European Terrorists start as as 'ordinary Europeans'. Terrorism is not a genetic trait you are born with. Unless you can propose a better way to identify the purchase of dangerous substances that are used to make explosives then I'd suggest you possibly move to Iraq to see what a lack of oversight can accomplish.

Beyond that, thanks for trolling, and have a nice day.

pull your own weight, fatty! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32721500)

but platinum-spoon genuine American tax-evaders are class-warfare terrorists

So when do we get reasonable pricing? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 years ago | (#32720858)

$12.50/GB would have been steep in the early 90's, today it's almost criminal (if the criminals weren't running the law it might be).

Over the Air TV (1)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 4 years ago | (#32720860)

As much as I like the Internet, I don't like this. As a big time proponent of over the air broadcasting, I don't like the rumbles from the FCC about cutting their spectrum even further than it already has been. It serves an important purpose to the poorer people in this country who cannot afford subscription fees, plus allows for some live TV to continue to be available for people who choose to do without cable/satellite. Free over-the-air TV is an excellent compliment to Internet video, particularly for live events like sports which are being broadcast live to many people at once.

With VHF having significant problems and the FCC wanting to chop another 20 UHF channels out, they want to make you pay.

Re:Over the Air TV (1)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#32720958)

One other feature of OTA that is little appreciated is the market fragmentation it causes. Which is good for endusers.

Media and broadcasting is inherently a business that tends toward monopolies, and we need whatever little diversity we can get by having OTA channels owned by some company other than the regional cableco or the national satellite company.

So everyone benefits from OTA, not just poor/cheap people.

Re:Over the Air TV (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 4 years ago | (#32721138)

With VHF having significant problems and the FCC wanting to chop another 20 UHF channels out, they want to make you pay.

Maybe they aren't talking about UHF channels, maybe they want to whack out FM Broadcasters [southgatearc.org] , or maybe even ham bands. I agree this could be a terrible news. Maybe somebody could clarify with more information.

Re:Over the Air TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32721598)

Id have no problem seeing the FM band gone, its nothing but a clearchannel cesspool now a days. Problem is, its such a small band, its probably not of much use for anything else, not to mention so close the ATC frequencies that there would probably be a decade long and drawn out study to make sure whatever new goes there doesn't interfere with ATC radio

Re:Over the Air TV (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | about 4 years ago | (#32721162)

You Obviously have not heard of Free over the Internet TV :)

Re:Over the Air TV (1)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 4 years ago | (#32721242)

TV over the internet cannot be multicast, meaning a one-to-one stream has to be set up for each viewer. It's HUGELY inefficient. Over-the-air is a one-to-many system. Transmit it just once and that same bandwidth is used for every person watching.

Re:Over the Air TV (2, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 4 years ago | (#32721526)

So it's more efficient to put up giant transmitters and blast out a signal that can be accessed clearly from the fricking moon, across a mindbogglingly wide swath of the spectrum, than it is to only send the data to the people who are requesting it?

Maybe efficient isn't the word you were looking for?

Re:Over the Air TV (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 4 years ago | (#32722042)

You're suggesting that the 6 hours per household per day of TV watching, across over 100 million households, is practical to do via TCP/IP, a dozen routers, and thousands of miles of cable, but not practical to do via one giant tower that lets them pluck it from the air?

Consider this: in the US the average household watches 6.8 hours of TV per day, and there are some 110 million households. That's 748 million hours of programming per day. We will say by some grace that it's concentrated on half of the day (its probably a lot closer to the same 6 hours +/-3) but let's say 12. That's 60 million 'channels' of programming to distribute to each user. Even if they want to watch different things the content is probably coming from a handful of sources (since it's mostly either live or 'new to the ecosystem' and can't be cached.) So let's say there are 60 distribution centers each that need to manage a million TV sessions. If we figure maybe 1/4 is in high def (probably an understatement) that leaves us with about (quick hand waving math, 250kbyte/s for SDTV and 2000kbyte/s for HDTV) 600 GBytes/sec of content that needs to be streamed from each hub.

Sounds efficient.

Re:Over the Air TV (1)

Rakishi (759894) | about 4 years ago | (#32722516)

Making a horribly implausible scenario does not prove your point, only your ignorance of how the internet actually works.

In reality, any such stream would be cached since you can amazingly enough cache things in real time. It'd be in fact, cached by each ISP as is done with any large content nowadays. Look up akamai. You'd end up with a tree of data propagation so the core servers might only need to send out data to a couple thousand destinations. Those send data to a couple thousand more destinations and those send it on to users.

Re:Over the Air TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32722116)

in a cost sense it is inefficient.

Its cheaper, in the long run, to run a single transmitter that reaches thousands or millions of users, without having to concern yourself with the amount of users.

In a digital internet model, the amount of users is incredibly important

10 users streaming a 1080p video would be expensive in termins of how much bandwidht is required to support that.

100 users would increase that cost significantly

1000 users.... it begins to become unwieldy

You're missing the point that with over the air, your single transmission can be accessed by an infinite number of receivers. Where as with the internet/computers, you need to make a transmission per user, which is more expensive.

we can look at it in terms of Frequencies, if only 1 user can access 1 frequency then for 0-500HZ you can have 500 users. Thats not many at all.
In reality though, you can have 5 million users access 1 frequency.

Re:Over the Air TV (2, Informative)

ChatHuant (801522) | about 4 years ago | (#32722304)

So it's more efficient to put up giant transmitters and blast out a signal that can be accessed clearly from the fricking moon, across a mindbogglingly wide swath of the spectrum, than it is to only send the data to the people who are requesting it?

Of course it's more efficient, for most reasonable definitions of efficient. That's why broadcast stations were developed first, long before cable systems. You don't need giant transmitters, nor do you need to broadcast to the moon (though you CAN, if you want - try doing it with cable!). Broadcast is vastly more efficient for certain ranges of applications: the infrastructure cost is fixed (the price of the broadcast stations) and doesn't change with the number of subscribers, the system scales perfectly (if your users count changes from 1000 to 1000000 overnight it JUST WORKS - you don't need to get new servers/routers/contracts with your bandwidth provider). It has theoretically infinite upper user limit. It can serve rural users even if they have no connection with the rest of the world, and it allows mobility easily.

The important thing is to understand the strengths and limitations of broadcast and point-to point systems and use each where it makes sense: broadcast is best when the same data needs to be sent to a relatively large number of users, at the same time. When you want customized data sent to many small sets of users, at different times, point to point connections are better.

To clarify, here's an example: traffic data for a city is tailor made for broadcast: it's of interest to many users, it needs to be consumed as soon as it's available (when you drive you want the most recent traffic data, not yesterday's traffic), and there is little space for customization (and whatever of it there is, it can be done client-side). On the other hand, e-mail is really bad for broadcast, since you'd use the whole tower bandwidth to send data to a single user.

Re:Over the Air TV (2, Interesting)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#32722008)

TV over the internet cannot be multicast

Bullshit. For example, The BBC does multicast streaming [bbc.co.uk] of both television and radio.

Re:Over the Air TV (2, Informative)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 4 years ago | (#32722194)

Yes, and it clearly states on one of their pages you must be on a "multicast-capable ISP." How many ISPs are "multicast capable" do you suppose?

Re:Over the Air TV (2, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#32722284)

They have more than a dozen ISPs participating.

Re:Over the Air TV (1)

rtaylor (70602) | about 4 years ago | (#32722414)

[b]TV over the internet cannot be multicast[/b]

Can't or simply isn't? I find it difficult to believe a protocol could not be created to accomplish this.

Re:Over the Air TV (1)

Trip Ericson (864747) | about 4 years ago | (#32722584)

Point made, poor phrasing on my part. Multicast does exist, don't get me wrong, but good luck getting any major ISPs in the US to support it. Remember they're all offering their own subscription video services--do you really think they'll let just anyone multicast video over "their" network without getting a cut?

It's an effective "cannot" rather than a physical "cannot."

Is the NSA ready? (1)

seanonymous (964897) | about 4 years ago | (#32720872)

How will they keep up with all that extra monitoring?

So what are we talking about here, anyways? (2, Interesting)

Gazoogleheimer (1466831) | about 4 years ago | (#32720906)

One thing that I have found concerning about this and other articles on this topic is that they make no mention of what actual spectrum is on the chopping block to be reassigned. I understand that to most people it means nothing, but I'm relatively both curious (and a little wary) of what exactly they're giving up for this. I guess it's the radio amateur in me that's terrified to lose spectrum (of course, it's not like they're going to be wanting any HF...but 10GHz? 1.2GHz? I think that spectrum might seem a lot more, er, succulent.)

Socialism (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32720930)

This is the most dreadful socialism.

amateur license vs unlicensed power output (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | about 4 years ago | (#32720936)

I actually heard once that people with amateur radio licenses, if they can broadcast their callsign, such as in the SSID, are allowed to use the higher power outputs allowed to them than to those using simply the unlicensed spectrum. Has anyone else ever heard of this?

Re:amateur license vs unlicensed power output (4, Informative)

Gazoogleheimer (1466831) | about 4 years ago | (#32721054)

Yes, and you are correct. We could technically use wifi amplifiers to boost our 2.4GHz signal to a (frightening, costly, and horribly impractical) 1500 watts. However, no encryption is allowed in that case, even HTTPS.

Re:amateur license vs unlicensed power output (1)

vlm (69642) | about 4 years ago | (#32721118)

I actually heard once that people with amateur radio licenses, if they can broadcast their callsign, such as in the SSID, are allowed to use the higher power outputs allowed to them than to those using simply the unlicensed spectrum. Has anyone else ever heard of this?

The term you need to google for is HSMM.

There are many other limitations to FCC part 97 operations, way beyond the scope of a slashdot post. Its not as simple as "change your SSID and its all good".

Re:amateur license vs unlicensed power output (2, Informative)

nmos (25822) | about 4 years ago | (#32721150)

I think you're mixing up a bunch of different things. It's true that amateur radio licenses can operate on different frequencies than the rest of us and can transmit at high power levels on those frequencies. Their call sign is assigned when they get their licence and they are required to broadcast it at regular intervals while transmitting (among other rules). This call sign has nothing whatsoever to do with WiFi ssids.

Re:amateur license vs unlicensed power output (2, Insightful)

Gazoogleheimer (1466831) | about 4 years ago | (#32721166)

No, digitalsushi was correct. There are additional privileges with 802.11.

Sequential callsign issuance sorta broken (3, Interesting)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | about 4 years ago | (#32721608)

...call sign is assigned when they get their licence ...

Yes, but.

It bugs me that call signs are re-used. Olaf Pearson (I will not vouch for the spelling) was a friend of my fathers. He was actually employed, as a kid, in Marconi's workshop. His house in Mobile, Alabama had a room that might as well have been a radio museum when I met him some 35 or 40 years ago. He was absolutely ancient even then but it was a delight to watch him light up as he demonstrated a radio he'd built using a 5-gallon Leyden jar; the discharge of that oversized capacitor (just a burst of static, really) was used to send morse. (After a short demo, he let loose an ominous chuckle and said "We probably just knocked out TV and radio reception for a 5-mile radius!")

His call sign was W4NU; I still have one of his cards. Olaf is long since dead and someone else now has that call sign.

It always felt wrong to me that those early call signs weren't retired as the pioneers passed on.

Auction $$$: All they care about (2, Insightful)

ScottFree2600 (929714) | about 4 years ago | (#32720966)

I guess that TV broadcasters didn't give the government enough money. I have a better idea! How about if a good sized chunk of that spectrum was made license free, like 2.4 and 5.8 ghz? Why should we give up "public airwaves" to the Verizons of the world to sell back to us by the kilobyte at high prices with data caps, etc. Look what's been done with the crumbs that the FCC has allowed us already!

280 megahertz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32721044)

How exactly does 120 MHz + 220 MHz = 280 MHz?

Re:280 megahertz? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#32721218)

Reading comprehension ftw!

The FCC has proposed that 280 megahertz of spectrum come from broadcasters and other sources, 120 of which would come from broadcasters. The other 220 megahertz would come from the federal government’s holdings managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration."

They are saying that to make up the 500mhz of specturm that 280mhz of it will come from broadcasters and other sources and 220mhz will come from the government. Now of the previous 280mhz block, 120mhz of that will come from broadcasters.

Re:280 megahertz? (1)

Message (303377) | about 4 years ago | (#32721220)

The summary sucks... confused me at first... it is 500MHZ = 280 (120 from broadcasters) + 220 from the feds

Squeeze out the Hams (2, Funny)

s122604 (1018036) | about 4 years ago | (#32721136)

Push em out of that juicy 420-450mhz slice o' spectrum.

Ok, I'm just trollin.. leave the ham's alone...

Re:Squeeze out the Hams (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32721240)

no dont leave them along, they eat up a lot of valuable space just for a tiny minority of people can chat

Re:Squeeze out the Hams (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32721468)

No, they don't. They use a TINY amount of spectrum so that ungrateful sods like you have other options besides the kind of commerical crap this worthwhile article talks about (albeit indirectly).

You're not a ham are you? (1)

the_rajah (749499) | about 4 years ago | (#32721596)

So you probably don't know about public service and emergency communications that hams do. The chat is part of making sure our gear works when nothing else does like the 24 hour "Field Day" exercise that tens of thousands of hams took part in last weekend to simulate communication in emergency conditions when grid power is not available and communications lines are down. Oh, and don't give me the, "It's not needed because we have cell phones" story. We had a tornado in my neighborhood and cell phones didn't work.. The tower went down along with the power and cable wires. No power for a week, no cable/Internet for 10 days.

The last thing I want is... (1)

dwiget001 (1073738) | about 4 years ago | (#32721308)

... my air conditioning unit A) connected to any communications network and B) to be charged for such connection.

Give me a fricken break!

Re:The last thing I want is... (1)

gregrah (1605707) | about 4 years ago | (#32721728)

Even if it could save you money and reduce your C02 footprint?

Granted - implementation would play a huge part in determining whether or not I would actually want to use such a thing. But declaring a priori that networked air conditioners are a bad thing??

Give me a fricken break!

Lawrence Summers, eh? (0, Flamebait)

darth dickinson (169021) | about 4 years ago | (#32721534)

I suppose he's cool with it so long as no women try to use it.

So who gets to give up TV? (1)

russotto (537200) | about 4 years ago | (#32721910)

On parts of the East Coast, the broadcast spectrum is almost full; there's no more room in VHF-Hi or UHF for any stations (there's a bit of VHF-lo left, but VHF-Lo sucks for digital). Taking 20 channels out means a lot of people are going to lose TV. Who is it going to be? I suppose the Comcast-NBC merger will free up a few stations (if Comcast pulls NBC off the air), but even that's not enough.

Ever hear the expression... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32722010)

"Fiddling while Rome burns?"

OBAMA MY *SS (-1, Offtopic)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 4 years ago | (#32722468)

Let's talk priorities, yes we definitely need more broadband, because I need it to live, not like water or an ecosystem....that goes on the back burner...

WHEN IS OBAMA GOING TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE OIL SPILL ALREADY?

Stop letting the losers responsible for the spill try to clean it up and make an even bigger mess and just fix the problem and let them foot the bill!

Re:OBAMA MY *SS (1)

Surt (22457) | about 4 years ago | (#32722708)

It's a nice notion, but think about the spinup time for the industry Obama would have to build to tackle this problem. The fact is that only the oil companies have the technology in place to do this, he must rely on at least one of them to fix this in any sort of reasonable time frame (and time is of the essence ... we can't wait a year or two for a federal effort, and we'd be lucky if the feds could do anything that quickly). He could pick a different oil company, though, and have BP pay one of its competitors to clean up the mess, which would be fitting, if only there was a deserving competitor.

The Math in the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32722836)

The FCC has proposed that 280 megahertz of spectrum come from broadcasters and other sources, 120 of which would come from broadcasters. The other 220 megahertz would come from the federal government's holdings managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration."

120 plus 220 adds up to 340, not 280...

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