US government regulators freed up unused spectrum between television channels on Thursday for super-fast wireless service and use by the next generation of mobile devices.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 5-0 to open up so-called “white spaces” — the vacant airwaves between broadcast television channels.
The FCC said the move, the first release of unlicensed spectrum in 25 years, would lead to “a host of new technologies, such as “super Wi-Fi,” and myriad other diverse applications.”
Unlocking this valuable spectrum will open the doors for new industries to arise, create American jobs, and fuel new investment and innovation,” the FCC said in a statement.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said it will lead to “billions of dollars in private investment and to valuable new products and services — some we can imagine, and many we can’t.
“We know what the first major application will be: super Wi-Fi. Super Wi-Fi is what it sounds like: Wi-Fi, but with longer range, faster speeds, and more reliable connections,” Genachowski said.
Television networks and wireless microphone users had protested that allowing use of “white spaces” would lead to interference with their signals.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) said following the unanimous vote that it would be reviewing the ruling.
Ed Black, president and chief executive of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, welcomed the FCC move.
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