Microsoft, Google Suffer Setback On ‘White Space’ Internet Access Plan

According to a Dow Jones report, prototype devices from Google, Microsoft and a coalition of companies that includes Philips, Intel and Dell failed an initial test that might have allowed the group to offer wireless internet and potentially other services on “unused portions of the nation’s television airwaves.”

The Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) found that the coalition’s hardware failed to avoid interference with existing broadcast signals.

Here’s Danny’s earlier post that provides some background information. Apparently the door isn’t closed on approval of the coalition efforts. According to the article:

However, the OET said that “several features that are contemplated as possible options to minimize the interference potential” of the devices were not implemented in the submitted prototypes, suggesting an opportunity to submit new, altered versions for testing.

Seen in the larger context of Google’s push for open wireless spectrum access, it’s part of an initiative to broaden consumer wireless and Internet options. It may also partly be seen as an insurance policy of sorts against any anti-net neutrality legislation or other, similar outcomes in Washington.

In a related story, the Wall Street Journal reports on San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s efforts to take the Google-Earthlink free WiFi initiative to the voters and get it moving again. The plan had been stalled by board of supervisors in fighting and municipal politics and Earthlink is apparently rethinking the economics of the project in the wake of those delays and setbacks.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Internet Access | Google: Mobile | Microsoft: Bing Mobile | Microsoft: Partnerships

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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