Thursday, March 5, 2009

Broadway Association Pushes Against WIFI's Use of "White Spaces"

We have no interest in standing in the way of progress. We just want to make sure that we are not at a disadvantage.

- Tom Ferrugia, director of government relations for the Broadway League

In Wendy Davis, "Broadcasters, Broadway Appeal FCC's 'White Spaces' Decision," Media Daily News, March 4, 2009

The Broadway League of New York, a trade association for the theater industry, has asked the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the Federal Communications Commission's November decision on the use of so-called white spaces. White spaces are radio airwaves not used by television broadcasters. The Commission's intent was to open that space to use for wireless internet activities because of that part of the spectrum's capability of going through walls. The wireless internet frequencies used today do not do that, prompting the Republican head of the FCC to support the move as "WIFI on steroids."

TV broadcasters, though, fear that the unlicensed use of the white spaces will lead to interference with television signals. Broadway performers also worry that WIFI use on the white spaces will interfere with wireless microphones that work on frequencies close to the white spaces. "We feel that we have enough evidence to demonstrate that the order was published without sufficient consideration of some of the technical information that the FCC engineers received," Ferrugia said. The Broadway League and others hope that the Court of Appeals will force the FCC to look more carefully at the issue.

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