Government Technology

'Super Wi-Fi' Pits Tech Giants Against Telecom Companies



February 4, 2013 By

A new report in the Washington Post describes a brewing conflict between two competing sectors with a vested interest in the FCC's plan to develop a free, cross-country wireless network. While the idea has been discussed for several years, some feel "Super Wi-Fi" got a step closer to reality when Google and Microsoft lent their support to the proposal.

Leveraging the air wave frequencies used for AM radio and broadcast television, the FCC would provide a baseline level of wireless access that blankets nearly every urban population center, as well as numerous rural areas. Championed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the plan has the FCC purchasing a portion of air wave spectrum rights from local TV stations.

The nationwide network could be strong enough to allow consumers to make calls and access the Internet without going through a cellphone company or Internet service provider. Supporters like Google and Microsoft feel that executing the FCC-sponsored plan would usher in a whole new wave of innovations benefitting the American public.

The $178 billion telecommunications industry has responded to the new-found support for the proposal by the tech industry with a vigorous campaign of its own. According to the Business Insider, Cisco asked the FCC to make the spectrum purchases as outlined by the plan, but instead auction it off to commercial enterprises.

Other opponents of the FCC's current Super Wi-Fi proposal are AT&T, T-Mobile, Intel and Qualcomm.

Image from Shutterstock
 


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Comments

Philly Guy    |    Commented February 5, 2013

Most definitely read this one also before commenting here: "Column: Can Bigger Government Help America's Internet Issue?" - http://www.govtech.com/wireless/Column-Can-Bigger-Government-Help-Americas-Internet-Issue.html

INConsultant    |    Commented February 7, 2013

Speaking on behalf of the rural sector, I applaud Microsoft/Google support for the Super Wi-Fi plan. Only choice for us is super expensive cellular plan (due to data limit) or AT&T dial up. AT&T has expressed that they aren't interested in boosting any increased signal to our homestead and you can't game on the cellular network. I say approve the Wi-Fi and blanket the whole country with a good, reliable signal.

Commnsns    |    Commented February 7, 2013

Another example of how greedy businesses & our environment of corporatocracy holds back technological advances that benefit the populace.

Timothy Morgan    |    Commented February 8, 2013

FYI, The Washington Post's story was completely and utterly WRONG... and they still have not retracted or corrected it. Lots and lots of news sites have followed their lead without looking into it and this rumor has spread. Government Technology News, please correct this! Lots of other sites got the story correct; Ars Technica is one of them: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/everything/~3/-IAJ63zGQu4/

Timothy Morgan    |    Commented February 8, 2013

Here's a slightly better version of that link: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/02/wi-fi-as-free-as-air-the-totally-false-story-that-refuses-to-die/


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