Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FCC Rejects Cheap/Fast Internet Device

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the recycling-the-packets dept.

The Internet 194

Tech.Luver writes "ABC News reports that a group of technology companies including Google, Microsoft, and Dell, have failed to convince the Federal Communications Commission of the utility of high-speed internet access via television airwaves. The FCC concluded the potential to disrupt consumer image quality was too high, in a statement released Wednesday. 'The technology companies say the unlicensed and unused TV airwaves, also known as "white spaces," would make Internet service accessible and affordable, especially in rural areas and also spur innovation. However, TV broadcasters oppose usage of white spaces because they fear the device will cause interference with television programming and could cause problems with a federally mandated transition from analog to digital signals in February 2009.'"

cancel ×

194 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Interesting (4, Interesting)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181379)

Interesting the timing of this article given Ofcom's recent approval of Ultra Wide Band for consumer devices in the UK.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6938941.stm [bbc.co.uk]

The ol' Upstream Question. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181395)

I'm guessing you need a phone-line sos yer requests can be transmitted?

Re:The ol' Upstream Question. (4, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182039)

The downlink speed using UHF is quite fast. They didn't mention that the upstream link uses USPS. The rate increase makes this pretty high cost/bit. Secure TCP (letter rate) is 0.41/packet and insecure UDP (postcard) is 0.26/packet.

Re:The ol' Upstream Question. (4, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182117)

When you first said "USPS" I thought "nah, he couldn't be talking about the postal service" but then you said "letter rate", and now I just have to say that I don't fancy the idea of printing all my ACK packets and sending them back. What happened to the paperless office? Obviously it's only paperless if you're using UDP!

Re:The ol' Upstream Question. (1)

computechnica (171054) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183711)

Thats the way the first Sattilite Internet systems worked. The response time was acually faster than the current 2-Way systems.

Re:Interesting (3, Informative)

radl33t (900691) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181411)

This ABC article title says a device failed an FCC test. The actual article reads that broadcasters simply "fear" interference. Which is it? Do they fear signal interference or ubiquitous broadband at the expense of their decaying empire?

Re:Interesting (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181535)

This ABC article title says a device failed an FCC test. The actual article reads that broadcasters simply "fear" interference. Which is it?

Let's brush up those reading comprehension skills, shall we? The second paragraph from the aforementioned ABC article: The Federal Communications Commission on July 31 said the devices submitted by the technology coalition could not reliably detect unused TV spectrum, and could also cause interference.

Re:Interesting (2, Informative)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181703)

Exactly. It doesn't mean that this device will never see the light of day, only that more development is needed to bring it up to the standard where it'll pass.

Re:Interesting (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182845)

Yes I have to admit that I find this article seems to have an FCC is evil and blocking progress slant. The device failed testing and could cause interference. So they need to improve the device.

Re:Interesting (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182435)

This ABC article title says a device failed an FCC test. The actual article reads that broadcasters simply "fear" interference. Which is it? Do they fear signal interference or ubiquitous broadband at the expense of their decaying empire?"
Yes. But the FCC can sense fear.

One more nail in the coffin of amateur radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20182149)

Interesting the timing of this article given Ofcom's recent approval of Ultra Wide Band for consumer devices in the UK.

Ultra Wide Band will be terrific for local connectivity --- in effect the same niche as Bluetooth but without its performance limitations, or like a more local form of wifi but without its power consumption.

But its very goodness is yet another nail in the coffin of amateur radio datacomms.

The severe and utterly ridiculous restrictions on content/usage mandated by virtually all the regulating bodies worldwide have kept amateur datacomms in an extremely primitive backwater, while their unlicensed friends have enjoyed incredible advances in radio-based consumer electronics without content/usage restrictions.

And radio amateurs can only blame it on themselves, because the majority have always been fanboys of their respective FCC/RA/etc, and regularly opposed moves to free up content/usage licensing restrictions.

And now it's too late, amateur datacomms has become a hobby for fans of retro, instead of being allowed to modify advanced consumer data-radio devices for equally unrestricted use in amateur bands. Too bad.

no problem (3, Funny)

mrjb (547783) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181383)

Ignorant as I am, I'd say all they need to do is to just up the frequency until outside TV spectrum. As an added bonus, all you'd have to do to cook your food would be to place it near your wireless router.

Re:no problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181643)

Ah yes, let's put it in the public safety usage bands. What a wonderful idea.

Re:no problem (4, Informative)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181729)

Ignorant as I am, I'd say all they need to do is to just up the frequency until outside TV spectrum. As an added bonus, all you'd have to do to cook your food would be to place it near your wireless router.

Yes, that is ignorant.

If you up the frequency until out of the first block of TV channels (2-4), you interfere with wireless hearing aids.

If you up it out of the second block (5-6), you interfere with FM radio.

If you up it out of the third block (7-13), you interfere with the military.

If you up it out of the last block (14-69), you interfere with cell phones.

Of course they are dropping channels 60-69 from the dial. This is the "700 MHz" band we have heard so much about lately.

The trouble is that while you could probably use the 700MHz band for this, it performs poorly in hilly, rural areas. VHF frequencies (like those around channels 7-13, and especially around 2-6) perform really well in such areas.

Re:no problem (2, Funny)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182573)

OK! So if upping frequency doesn't work, why don't they just lower the wavelength?

Damn you knowledgeable types... Always finding fault in EVERYTHING. I bet you were standing right next to Orville whispering "It's gonna crash..ssss.." right in his ear.

Freaking luddites...

Cheers!
--
Vig

Re:no problem (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183649)

I bet you were standing right next to Orville whispering "It's gonna crash..ssss.." right in his ear.

Yet he still made a damn good bowl of popcorn...

Re:no problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20182643)

"If you up the frequency until out of the first block of TV channels (2-4), you interfere with wireless hearing aids."

I don't see the problem here. Those with hearing aids would just get free internet connections straight to their heads. Win-win!

Re:no problem (0, Troll)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182783)

Wow, I would feel so sorry to have interfered with any of those things, you know, what with each and every one of them being completely worthless...

Re:no problem (1)

Forseti (192792) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183303)

Wow, I would feel so sorry to have interfered with any of those things, you know, what with each and every one of them being completely worthless...
No more worthless than TV! And that's beside the point...

Re:no problem (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183807)

Nope. TV is also pretty worthless, as can be read in another one of my posts... ;)

Creating A National Threat! (was: Re:no problem) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20183405)

"If you up the frequency until out of the first block of TV channels (2-4), you interfere with wireless hearing aids."

Whoa! Can't do that! How would Bush make an even remotely coherent speech!

Re:no problem (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183421)

If you up the frequency until out of the first block of TV channels (2-4), you interfere with wireless hearing aids.
If you up it out of the second block (5-6), you interfere with FM radio.
If you up it out of the third block (7-13), you interfere with the military.
If you up it out of the last block (14-69), you interfere with cell phones.
Of course they are dropping channels 60-69 from the dial. This is the "700 MHz" band we have heard so much about lately.
The trouble is that while you could probably use the 700MHz band for this, it performs poorly in hilly, rural areas. VHF frequencies (like those around channels 7-13, and especially around 2-6) perform really well in such areas.


Well, out of those options, sorry about those deaf people but they don't really need so much spectrum just for hearing aids. Actually, we could throw out FM, AM & cell phones if we had a nice handy dandy wireless internet ready to go. I wouldn't want to mess with military or police band widths cause those guys have guns.

Re:no problem (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20183805)

For more information, this (pdf) chart [doc.gov] is pretty nice (US only). It's a little outdated (Oct 2003).

Interference Prevention (0, Redundant)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181393)

It is being blocked for interference prevention, not because broadcasters fear it, but because it could not reliably detect unused TV spectrum, and could also cause interference..

Re:Interference Prevention (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181519)

It is being blocked for interference prevention, not because broadcasters fear it, but because it could not reliably detect unused TV spectrum, and could also cause interference..


Heck, many TVs can't reliably detect unused TV spectrum as can be witnessed by tuning your TV into the airwaves (instead of your cable/satellite) and watching the screen turn blue on stations that come in fine, but have a slightly weak signal. (like say, Windsor, Ontario's Channel 9 in Detroit).

Anyway, I say the whole broadcast TV thing needs to just die anyway. Seriously, how many people do you know personally who don't have satellite or cable? I know of one person, but that's it.

Re:Interference Prevention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181555)

That really annoys me. What exactly was wrong with just displaying static? Why do we have to show blue screens if the TV decides the channel is unwatchable? Shouldn't I, the user, be the one who decides what is unwatchable?

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181589)

That's a feature of the television/tuning device so that people don't have to watch/hear static. I've had a few VCRs and whatnot where you could disable the blue screen and watch/listen to as much static as you wanted.

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181717)

That's a feature of the television/tuning device so that people don't have to watch/hear static.

I think it's mostly for the hearing part. The noise from the static can be significantly louder than any of the TV programs that come in clearly. Probably the blue screen ought to be traded for a "mute" function when the a weak signal is detected AND the peak volume exceeds a certain threshold.

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181799)

The person responsible for that "feature" is definately on my list of people to meet before I die.

Re:Interference Prevention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181933)

Yes, this is a particularly stupid feature. While nobody enjoys static, analog television is far more resistant to noise than digital.

Compare how understandable a static-laden analog signal is with a crystal-clear but frozen digital one. Your brain can reconstruct most of the missing data from the analog signal. It can't do anything with digital because the transmission of visual data halts.

Re:Interference Prevention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20182729)

At least one TV I've seen has the option to just display the static instead of a blue screen. I think it's called "display weak stations."

Re:Interference Prevention (5, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181571)

Anyway, I say the whole broadcast TV thing needs to just die anyway. Seriously, how many people do you know personally who don't have satellite or cable? I know of one person, but that's it.

I think this is the first time I've seen someone on slashdot advocating the elimination of the FREE option and requiring people to pay money for something.

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181607)

I think this is the first time I've seen someone on slashdot advocating the elimination of the FREE option and requiring people to pay money for something.
Most cable companies have subsidized 'lifeline' cable where you can get just broadcast channels and a few basic cable stations for under $20 a month. And some even offer free service for the truly economically challenged as a community service.

Re:Interference Prevention (2, Interesting)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181887)

Er, $20 per month is the _lifeline_ offering?
Over here, 15 (less that 20$) is considered expensive for cable...

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

ppz003 (797487) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182779)

Most cable companies have subsidized 'lifeline' cable where you can get just broadcast channels and a few basic cable stations for under $20 a month. And some even offer free service for the truly economically challenged as a community service.

Well that's nice, but I know a lot of rural areas that still don't have access to any cable at all. And depending on what side of the hill they are on, some don't even have a "clear view of the southern sky" either. Basically, over the air TV is the only option. (My parents can't get cable or DSL, but at least they can get satellite. Some neighbors can't.)

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

bommai (889284) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183101)

I refuse to pay even $2/month for ad supported TV. I love the 8 OTA-HD channels that I get at my home using just a small antenna. I have a HD-DVR and watch shows like CSI-Miami, 24, House, Criminal Minds, Numbers, etc without paying a dime to anyone. All in glorious 1080i or 720p HD and no extra compression. Now, why would I give that up to pay some sleazy company like Comcast.

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183617)

Yeah growing up, we didn't have cable because it was too expensive. And yet my friends that were worse off than we were financially, did have cable because of the community service.

I'm really considering dropping cable when I move into my new place. Cable is taking up way too much coding/reading/doing productive stuff time.

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182209)

I live in a big city and only get free over the air TV. Its enough for me. I like it.

Re:Interference Prevention (2, Insightful)

ubermiester (883599) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183745)

I think this is the first time I've seen someone on slashdot advocating the elimination of the FREE option and requiring people to pay money for something.
The deluge of advertising we are subjected to on a daily basis costs us much more than anyone can calculate. Think of how much time and energy we all spend cleansing our minds of all the subtle tweaks to our world view made by the advertising we encounter. Will I really have women following me if I use that body spray? Do I really need that 4x4 to commute to my job in the city? Is that politician really who she says she is? And these are just the most egregious examples of what we face in the struggle against advertising. Most people don't even know they are being manipulated.

The media culture is now the biggest challenge to democracy since it's inception. We are both better informed and more easily brainwashed.

Now this is not to say that pay tv is any better for such things. Cable stations advertise just as much as over-the-air stations (with the obvious exception of premium channels), but saying that over-the-air tv is "free" is like saying that gasoline used to cheap. We are now all paying a steep price for that delusion (and I don't mean at the pump). How long before we realize that advertising will do us in faster than global warming and jihad combined?

Re:Interference Prevention (2, Interesting)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181649)

I don't have satellite nor cable, and I don't see why I should lose them just so some geeks can have better Internet access.

Or maybe you have a vested interest in everyone being subject to cable/satellite corporate monopolies...

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181873)

Or maybe you have a vested interest in everyone being subject to cable/satellite corporate monopolies...
I don't own a single share of any cable or satellite stock. But, FWIW, in most of the densely populated areas of the country there is now competition among cable and satellite providers. I think in my area (Tampa Bay) I have the choice between Bright House, Verizon, and WOW for cable, and pretty much any of the satellite providers. So if you don't have satellite/cable because you fear monopolies, it's probably time to start looking around.

Re:Interference Prevention (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181903)

I don't have satellite nor cable, and I don't see why I should lose them just so some geeks can have better Internet access.

Or maybe you have a vested interest in everyone being subject to cable/satellite corporate monopolies...
Too many people take for granted the $40~$50 per month they spend on their cable/sat TV bill.

Even people in serious debt will keep paying for their Cable/sat TV (& cell phone( until the very end.

Re:Interference Prevention (2, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183319)

I don't have satellite nor cable, and I don't see why I should lose them just so some geeks can have better Internet access.

You're using the TV version of free dial-up access if you're relying on terrestrial TV signals for entertainment. If you had access to wireless, high-speed internet, you could watch streaming video instead. I should even have to into the difference in choices of entertainment available between the two. Plus, most UHF stations in the upper numbers are really low-quality programming.

By the way, it's not just geeks that use the internet anymore, just so you know. They're replacing the generation that uses UHF anyway.

Or maybe you have a vested interest in everyone being subject to cable/satellite corporate monopolies...

I dunno. Sounds to me like maybe you have a vested interest in everyone being subject to cable/phone corporate monopolies. <g>

Opening up wireless spectrum to high-speed, two-way internet access might provide us with at least as much competition as there is in the cell phone market right now. At least, we'd no longer be dependent on whichever two companies run two types of wire to our houses.

There were even proposals on the table from a group that wanted to do free, ad-supported access, so if their long-shot proposal wins you'd get much of the same experience of free TV you have now if price is your concern. Even Google is making rumbles of ad-supported devices.

Still it's a shame their device wasn't properly engineered.

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182623)

I guess the difference (i.e. why those TV sets are allowed) is that TVs rarely if ever actually transmit if they can't detect that a channel is in use. At worst, they show black/blue, but they don't think it's fine to use the channel for transmissions.

Re:Interference Prevention (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182645)

Anyway, I say the whole broadcast TV thing needs to just die anyway. Seriously, how many people do you know personally who don't have satellite or cable? I know of one person, but that's it.

Well, since it seems completely impossible to find any market for figures for the US, I'll just talk from my experiences from Norway. How you get TV is very dependent on where you live, if you live somewhere central you typically have cable and it seems like "everyone else" does too. Go a little bit further out and you'll find there's a good mix of satellite or broadcast reievers. Once you start talking cabins, very few have satellites but many will put up a simple aerial antenna. By moving to digital, DTT will offer pretty much the same package as cable/satellite and would make it a lot more attractive again. Besides, using broadcast systems for pushing Internet, while using the networks for pushing IPTV seems like the least sane switch in history, at least if you're talking IPTV over wireless. Broadcast TV does a smashing job of sending the same content to everyone. Leave broadcast to be broadcast and start pulling cables so there'll be some decent internet connection instead.

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

45mm (970995) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183041)

Anyway, I say the whole broadcast TV thing needs to just die anyway. Seriously, how many people do you know personally who don't have satellite or cable? I know of one person, but that's it.
I stopped paying for cable TV over a year ago, and I'm far from the first person to do so. I currently have an OTA (over-the-air aka broadcast) high-def setup in my house, 100% free after the antenna purchase (40 bucks). I'm in a valley, no problems getting all the local channels, not even during "weather". The rest? Well, I only watched a couple of them to begin with ... and most of them come out on DVD a few months after the season ends. YMMV, of course.

Here's an idea for the cable broadcasters ... drop the rates or give me the option to select only the channels (a per-channel fee, if you will) I want to watch instead of lumping me into a "plan" that gives me a massive subset of them. Maybe I'll consider coming back then? They have the hardware to do so, they're just lazy ... or I guess they don't have to since the sheeple are more than willing to pay 100/month on garbage.

Re:Interference Prevention (3, Insightful)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183763)

Here's an idea for the cable broadcasters ... drop the rates or give me the option to select only the channels (a per-channel fee, if you will) I want to watch instead of lumping me into a "plan" that gives me a massive subset of them.
I've been campaigning for this for years. Ideally, I'd like to see a true a la carte system that let me pick as many or as few channels as I liked, but I'd accept a 5, 10 or 15 channel plan too. Some have argued that indie or less well-known channels would suffer, but I don't see it as my responsibility to subsidise them. Alternatively, I'd even go for a "geek" channel package (that would obviously need a more marketable name) that contained the usual suspects beloved by the tech/history/science/history watchers. Until this happens, however, I refuse to pay a hefty cable bill for a channel line-up that consists of 90% channels that I have no interest in and are stuffed with commercials.

In a perfect world, there'd be pure digital distribution of television series and movies. All content would be streamed on-demand in a high-quality format, with a basic fee covering access to the network and perhaps a low-cost fee per hour of watching (like $.25 per hour) with no interstitial commercial "messages". I'd be very happy with that.

Re:Interference Prevention (1)

jddj (1085169) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183791)

Anyway, I say the whole broadcast TV thing needs to just die anyway. Seriously, how many people do you know personally who don't have satellite or cable?

I'm one of those people. OTA 1080i HD KICKS FUCKING ASS compared to the miserable cable and satellite options. Why pay for shit when I've got beautiful HD coming in for free?

Please don't mess with my broadcast TV. I'm using it.

Re:Interference Prevention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20183793)

Anyway, I say the whole broadcast TV thing needs to just die anyway. Seriously, how many people do you know personally who don't have satellite or cable? I know of one person, but that's it.

I believe that several million people would disagree with you. in fact I bet that at least 30% of yourr neighbors use OTA for Tv.

Just because your incredibly tiny universe does not have anyone watching TV over the air does not make it a fat on the rest of the planet, I strongly suggest you actually get up and go outside, your only friends on WoW are not an accurate cross sampling of the population and what it does.

I love it when 13 year old kids like you think you know everything, you dont, you done even have even an inkling of what is reality. Your little rural Midwest town is not normal, go to New York where most have OTA Tv and not cable or satellite.

Re:Interference Prevention (0)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181705)

Yes, it could cause grave interference with obsolete, decaying businesses' profits.

Seriously, how long until some old monopolist gripes that "omg teh smutty intertubez data cud show up on ur TV by axident lol"

Re:Interference Prevention (2, Interesting)

o'reor (581921) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181743)

As a former DVB engineer, having studied the terrestrial standards for digital broadcasting, I can tell you that this fear of interference is total bullshit. The level of signal redundancy (using Viterbi encoding) combined with the forward error correction (FEC) mechanisms introduced in the signal, practically reduce the risk of interference to none.

COFDM, the modulation used in Europe, may be more robust in that area than 8VSB used in the US, still I don't believe it would be a serious concern.

I think the biggest fear for those broadcasters is, as usual, money : if those bandwidths, which they are given free and exclusive access to by the FTC, were to be auctionned off to telco operators, they might eventually have to pay to remain on air.

BS Prevention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20182061)

"I think the biggest fear for those broadcasters is, as usual, money : if those bandwidths, which they are given free and exclusive access to by the FTC"

No the biggest fear is ignorance. The digital TV spectrum and the unlicensed spectrum are two different things. The problem is that communications gear obeys the laws of physics and economics i.e. the lowest bidder. Plus one is licensed AND regulated, while the other isn't increasing the odds of interference.

Re:Interference Prevention (2, Informative)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182249)

I don't think DVB is the worry. Analog interference is, and with the power required, even DVB can be overpowered and interfered with.

Deadline (2, Funny)

asudhir (987272) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181399)

And we all know that that "February 2009" deadline is actually going to be upheld.

Re:Deadline (1)

tonsofpcs (687961) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181429)

The February 2009 deadline has been given and it is repeatedly cited that it will be upheld. Do note that the Feb. 2009 digital transition deadline does not apply to all stations.

Re:Deadline (1)

rhartness (993048) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181493)

I'm hoping it will be upheld. I'm tired of holding out on getting a High-Def so I can get my government subsides (SP?) for the two analog TVs that I have.

Re:Deadline (3, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182207)

As a non-US citizen, I too hope your government subsides.
(Not a spelling Nazi, just poking you coz you pointed it out :P )

Re:Deadline (2, Informative)

tonyquan (758115) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183861)

You won't get a subsidy to buy a Hi-Def TV. All you'll get is a $40 voucher to buy a convertor box that will let you watch digital TV signals on your analog TVs. Of course, this won't magically make your TVs hi-def.

In short... (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181449)

*COUGH*BULLSHIT*COUGH*

air waves? who uses?? (1, Insightful)

b100dian (771163) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181407)

But aren't TV broadcasters mostly on cable now??
Oh, and sattelites, of course!

Re:air waves? who uses?? (2, Funny)

dsginter (104154) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181601)

But aren't TV broadcasters mostly on cable now??

I've ditched the cable/satellite in favor of terrestrial HDTV. You'd be surprised with the amount of content that you can acquire through time shifting and a good antenna [antennasdirect.com] (especially if you like PBS stuff like Nova).

Cable/Satellite TV's days are numbered with solid internet broadcasting.

Re:air waves? who uses?? (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181613)

But aren't TV broadcasters mostly on cable now??
Oh, and sattelites, of course!

Sure, they are being relayed over cable and satellite. But the quality over the air is actually better with the switch to digital. Many cable and satellite providers are either still carrying many stations only in analog, or are overcompressing the picture data. For stations that have gone to their full digital power, over the air reception is actually better than it was for analog.

Also, the FCC has been holding off processing new TV station applications for a few years due to the transition, and the fact that most stations are using 2 channels in parallel. Once the analog channels get shutdown by midnight February 17, 2009 (it's now a stable hard deadline), and after remaining interference issues are settled, the FCC can begin processing the new TV station applications.

One thing digital technology also does with the spectrum is allow channels to be spaced tighter in the spectrum as well as geographically. You could be located half way between two TV stations on the same channel and, depending on which way you point your antenna, receive either or both. TV stations can now be packed tighter. One result of this is the removal of more TV spectrum (channels 52 and up) which is going to be used for other services such as data providers and emergency two-way radio (with digital technology). That and the new applications could very well fill up the TV spectrum, especially on the available UHF channels (14 to 36 and 38 to 51).

Re:air waves? who uses?? (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181615)

Unfortunately the affiliate system in the U.S. has been holding back the technological infrastructure for some time in this regard and many others. The affiliates have a vested interest in maintaining the old structure of pre-cable American television and so they fight innovation too-and-nail. They fought cable when it came in. They fought to get a law passed banning satellites from carrying major networks if they weren't through the local affiliate in the area. They fought the long-overdue HDTV switch. And now that they've lost that fight, they're fighting any interference with their broadcast signals because that is the only clear advantage that they still have over cable and satellite (because they can still broadcast their HDTV signals over-the-air without compression).

Re:air waves? who uses?? (1)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181663)

What are you talking about? Get a TV with rabbit ears, and flip around. There's quite a few different stations you can pick up. Every major broadcast channel, NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS etc still does this.

Re:air waves? who uses?? (1)

b100dian (771163) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182339)

I'm sorry - here in Romania we only have the national channel broadcasted country-wide, through airwaves.
All others are satellite and we get them through the cable companies.
So basically I thought airwaves are pretty "free" in other countries too - guess I was wrong;)

Re:air waves? who uses?? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182687)

Only in Europe, and only in countries that upheld the government monopoly at least into the late 80s. I was quite amazed when I was in the US the first time, they routinely get like 20+ channels via antenna, that's more than we had in the early days of cable (2 state + 8 cable channels, mid-80s).

BPL contrast. (2, Interesting)

auroran (10711) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181495)

It's interesting to see that th FCC is taking the stance that they are with this one.
They're pushing ahead w/ the BPL approvals despite the known and measured interference that the ARRL has presented to them. (They've shown that it's not just the hams that are effected too.) Yet they are concerned about interference on a new system before it's even tested because of the possibility of interference.

It's sounding like the power companies using BPL and media companies may have purchased a few FCC employees to look after their corporate interests.

Re:BPL contrast. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181559)

Then Google needs to purchase them back. "Do no evil" damn. Man up and bribe some decent internet for us already.

Re:BPL contrast. (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183353)

Think of it more like this: who is more likely to have a more powerful lobby with the FCC?
  • TV Broadcasters who purchase licenses from the government for outrageous sums of money.
  • Amateur radio operators [wikipedia.org] who pay little for their ability to use the airwaves.

Ham radio vs. TV (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183357)

The difference is how many people care about the two. Ham radio operators are mostly obscure hobbyists that most of the people in charge of the FCC may have never had any encounter with. Terrestrial broadcast TV watchers are a bit more ubiquitous, and so the FCC cares about them more. Plus, they tend to be from an elderly demographic that's a bit more politically active, especially in terms of contacting officials and donating to campaigns.

It's really no surprise that the FCC can brush one of them off but have to pay attention to the other.

YAFWS - Yet Another Fscking Wireless Standard (0)

jo42 (227475) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181499)

How many does that make it now? Do we need Yet Another Fscking Wireless Standard?

Why can't these bozos come up with One Good Standard (tm), implement it and go with it? Idijts.

Re:YAFWS - Yet Another Fscking Wireless Standard (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181561)

Why can't these bozos come up with One Good Standard (tm), implement it and go with it?
Because as technology advances, we come up with better and better ways to do stuff. Each standard gets faster and faster, and cheaper and cheaper. You might as well ask 'why can't these bozos come up with One Good CPU design, implement it and go with it?', it's about the same thing.

Re:YAFWS - Yet Another Fscking Wireless Standard (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181931)

Well, there was one good CPU design, but unfortunately the 6809 just never took off...

Re:YAFWS - Yet Another Fscking Wireless Standard (1)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181623)

you know, if you're gonna "censor" all the "bad" words (fsck, idijts) you better just avoid them in the first place.

it looks silly.

Big Money vs. Big Money. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181567)

It is a case of Big Money vs. Big Money because both sides have huge amount of money to throw into it they figure regecting change will be the easist choice.

Re:Big Money vs. Big Money. (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181719)

In this case, however, the FCC is making a wise decision.

It is unclear if this new technology will actually properly protect TV reception. A device in one home might not detect any TV station at all on a given channel even though the next home over is actually receiving one or even two stations on that very channel.

It is also unclear just how much open space will remain in the TV spectrum. There is a huge backlog of new TV station applications the FCC will begin to process sometime after the analog cutoff. Digital does allow packing the spectrum much tighter and as a result of that, much of the TV spectrum has already been removed for other uses (to be fully effective on the analog cutoff day). So the amount of spare spectrum may end up being very minimal.

Watch what the bidders on the converted 700 MHz spectrum do.

Need to protect the incumbent telco's (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181575)

-- This is just like broadband over powerline (BPL). The FCC makes sure the requirements are inadequate, such that there is guaranteed interference with somebody (with Congressional influence). The FCC then quashes it, in order to help it's telco friends.
-- BPL still exists for the moment, as, there is not enough influential pain being relayed to Congress yet. Don't worry, BPL will be quashed.
-- Gotta protect the telco's, so that the commissioners have lucrative future position and employment.

Re:Need to protect the incumbent telco's (2, Informative)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181765)

BPL will, and should, be quashed because it is a flawed technology from the outset. It inherintly leaks to the air, making it both subject to RF interference and a source of RF interference. BPL is also very bandwidth limited with no growth potential (because the faster it has to go, the higher the frequencies it needs to use, and the more it will interfere because higher frequencies will leak even more from power lines).

Power companies should, instead, install fiber over their poles, or in the ground along the way.

Bad Conspiracy Theory, Try Again (1)

Bri3D (584578) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183717)

While I'm sure there is "pressure" from teleco lobbyists on the FCC commissioners and I'm sure this does affect a lot of their decisions (lobbyists "affect" read: pay money for every decision in US government today), I don't think BPL is the best case for you to use for your conspiracy theories. BPL is really, truly flawed. Think about it. You're transmitting high-frequency signals over giant unshielded wires. You are basically sending high-frequency data through an enormous antenna. The interference potential is *huge*, and it shouldn't be allowed to spread unchecked. There are strategies for minimizing interference but they make it so slow as to be pointless.

In fairness... (4, Funny)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181603)

I can see the TV people's point. It's not like those frequencies are a big truck you can just dump stuff on.

Re:In fairness... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181777)

No, those frequencies are a series of tubes, and when those tubes get full... they leak.

Leak into the other tubes which the TV signals use.

Re:In fairness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181837)

So if this were to be implemented it would actually be like a bunch of tubes being stuffed into a bunch of bigger tubes?

Failz0rs! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181669)

FCC happens to be right on this one... (4, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181677)

Putting wireless internet on the freed-up TV channels is a particularly poor use of the spectrum. Each TV channel is only about 6 MHz wide (4.5 plus some guard space). That would accomodate maybe 50 million bits per second of service, across the propagation range of VHF and UHF, which depending on power and weather, can range from a few hundred meters to several hundred miles. If you use a few hundred watts you could cover a few square miles, but so can the current Wifi channels. Covering a large rural are is impractical as you'd need many watts of power transmitted at the user's end, and only a limited number of users could be handled.

Of course it'll cause interference! (1)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181689)

They'll have to give up their entertainment monopoly in parts of the country that don't enjoy broadband yet. Then those people won't watch Must See TV, which is interference the way NBC measures it.

Scrap the FCC. Use frequency hopping spread-spectrum devices to avoid interference. Create grid networks for data. Forget telephone, television, etc. Just let me get data. Look, I'd even accept a tiered pricing model: one price for low-latency traffic (voice, games), one price for high-latency traffic (large data downloads).

The "intelligent" network with its walled gardens gets on my nerves.

Airwaves? (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181697)

I wonder how many more years it will be before the airwaves are worth more (in terms of dollar value) as a medium for generic data transmission than they are as a medium for a specific technology (TV, radio, cell phone...)

Whitespace is fitting (4, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181745)

Whatpornifpornallpornwhitespaceporninporncommentsp ornwaspornusedpornlikepornthis ?

Re:Whitespace is fitting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181957)

Awesome

Say What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20181787)

So we're switching to digital broadcasts to free up parts of the spectrum, but then we can't use that part of the spectrum because of potential interference?

Cheap / Fast / Good (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181817)

Pick Any Two.

I know, I know, the "fast" in that old adage refers to how quickly you want it produced, not how fast the device actually is. This is just a play on the article title.

AT&T owns the FCC (0, Flamebait)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 7 years ago | (#20181827)

It is as simple as this: AT&T owns the FCC. The FCC is afraid for some reason to takeaway the money-pit monopoly of the phone company

Yes If we had a proper radio network, built by you and me. The phone company would simply not be needed. There last usefulness for the home user would be obsolete. You cell phone would work better and would not come with a price tag for air time. There would be true competition for access to Internet backbone.

Re:AT&T owns the FCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20183597)

The Telco's are moderating too.

Not a good time to have a device in for testing (2, Insightful)

phreaki (725521) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182261)

It's true, TV spectrum is afforded more protection than in areas right now that are being bombarded with unintended RF from the BPL trials. BPL is given almost a 'do what you want' license right now for testing, when the FCC knows it's causing problems.

AT&T, Sprint or whomever wins the auction will provide some form of high speed Internet on that 700mhz pie they won. There's already speeds of greater than 1gbps on the gigaherz spectrum, and claims of 54mbps on around 20mhz of 900mhz.

I'm not going to speculate too much, but I'd garner that with the 700mhz auction coming up, the FCC isn't likely to go 'easy' on any device that uses TV spectrum, lest they scare away record numbers for that auction.

In any case, this partnership helps one key thing: smart radios that pickup and re-use spectrum not being used. There's too much waste, even the cellular companies are guilty of this, and it's the next generation to detect and re-use.

It's time the radios get smarter, and start talking to one another.... coordination by the radios themselves is the only way to assure the spectrum is used all the time.

Rain/snow/brimstone may affect your reception so why can't that be exploited?

Re:Not a good time to have a device in for testing (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182869)

Coordination by the radios themselves? The next thing you'll want is some form of mainframe to control all those radios and maybe even some autonomous robots to service the radios that answer only to the mainframe and then maybe you'll want to call it SkyNet and then where will we be? Huh?? Did you think of that??? I didn't think so. I thought the real meat of the story was that the FCC Chairman stated, "...the agency still would like to find a way to transmit high-speed Internet service over the unused airwaves." That being said the next time this story is reported the slashdot headline could read, "The FCC accepts cheap/fast internet device."

Re:Not a good time to have a device in for testing (1)

phreaki (725521) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183263)

"SkyNet and then where will we be? Huh?? Did you think of that??? "

Actually, I've already thought of that.

There has already been talk of GPS enabled radios that would monitor for emissions from others and re-adjust channels/frequency automatically without any control. You could call it FCC mandated QOS for radio, and the FCC supplies the list of who get what priority.
Or is the FCC Skynet already?

The real meat of my reply was that the only way 'reusing' spectrum would be feasible is if the radios communicate about interference detected and adjust power levels. Let's face it, with that close of co-channel use, it's reusing spectrum.

  I know just about every radio goes outside it's alloted center frequency. Trouble is, 500mhz can cause problems with 499mhz. If the radio that has secondary intent on the spectrum it's transmitting on and is causing problems, it must be notified and either switch off, or lower emission.

How is the radio going to know it's interferring if it cannot detect the emissions of the main broadcasting tower, nor receive feedback from other radios that could receive both the primary and secondary users of that frequency or co-channel?

Enter Skynet! We'll send big robots in to just crush and destroy the radio instead of using a control channel to let the transmitter know it's causing problems. No FCC visit needed, and the pesky radio will no longer interfere!

Now the headline will be:

"FCC boots Skynet up to control drones, ushering in fast cheap Internet"

So? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20182689)

Fuck television. I want decent internet up here in the forested hills. The FCC does a great job at smacking down anything that might be useful.

White Space (3, Insightful)

Darth Cider (320236) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183329)

Check out how much TV spectrum goes unused across the U.S. [freepress.net] , and not just in rural areas. Unbelievable waste. Does this look like a free-market allocation of resources? Does the FCC realize it is making earnest citizens literally sick with disappointment? How many people would welcome a movement to just seize the airwaves, creating wireless ISPs that don't ask for permission to broadcast? Bring on the interference?

FCC trys to postpone inevitable death, RIAA style (1)

one0them (1137193) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183395)

The fcc is trying to postpone their inevitable end by trying to maintain their unconstitutional choke hold on Americans' free speech. Of course the RIAA have been trying to maintain their chokehold (albeit constitutional) on music, and this is their excuse for alienating their customers, and committing financial suicide.

If RIAA wanted to stay in business, they would work on getting their musicians songs (concert advertisements) exposure, not trying to cover them up, and litigate their customers.

If the FCC wanted to avoid being trampled by pirate data transmitters, they would end the unconstitutional practice of licensing free speech, and set down some standard ground-rules about amplitude (dependent on number of transmitters nearby), not jamming thy neighbor, standard protocol (mesh), and network neutrality.

But instead, the federal censorship commission has opted to die slowly as the airwaves turn into an invariable screaming match amongst TV stations, and pirate internet broadcasters. soon it will not be uncommon to see an antenna throwing lightning bolts whenever it is humid or rainy, we will have to Faraday cage everything, and everything is gonna hum. What interesting times we live in.

BTW: you can still buy soviet 1 kilowatt, = 1 megahertz triodes on ebay for like 25 bucks. 10 otta do it, and one burly generator.

Easy fix for interference concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20183469)

However, TV broadcasters oppose usage of white spaces because they fear the device will cause interference with television programming and could cause problems with a federally mandated transition from analog to digital signals in February 2009.

Just put junk like Lifetime, Oxygen, Opera and all the reality shows next to the white spaces. If there is any interference, nobody with any intelligence to notice will be watching those channels.

The Real Problem with Whitespace Devices (2, Insightful)

TheSync (5291) | more than 7 years ago | (#20183757)

The real problem with "whitespace" devices is intermodulation interference. Just because there isn't a signal in a "whitespace" doesn't mean that if you transmit there that your signal won't mix with other signals in receivers to create intermodulation noise.

Unlicensed signals on first adjacent channels next to DTV signals may generate third-order intermodulation product noise in DTV receivers.

There is nothing wrong with trying to set up "intelligent radio" unlicensed systems in their own band, but putting them adjacent to DTV channels is not a good idea.

More info:
http://www.tvtechnology.com/pages/s.0072/t.1598.ht ml [tvtechnology.com]
http://www.tvtechnology.com/pages/s.0072/t.2005.ht ml [tvtechnology.com]
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>