Feature Article

May 02, 2013

Super WiFi Coming to the U.S.

The U.S. started the transition to digital television (DTV) in 2009 with full implementation by 2015. DTV is an innovative type of over-the-air broadcasting technology that enables TV stations to provide dramatically clearer pictures and better sound quality.   It is more efficient and flexible than the traditional way of broadcasting known as analog.

For example, DTV makes it possible for stations to broadcast multiple channels of free programming all at once (called multicasting), instead of broadcasting one channel at a time. DTV technology can also be used to deliver future interactive video and data services that analog technology can't provide. 

This switch to DTV left what is called “white space” in the spectrum that many have theorized could be used for high speed WiFi, or Super WiFi. The FCC is currently evaluating a number of possibilities that would help track white space use. The move to using this free spectrum for wireless data would signal billions in innovation and research.

Companies from Google to Microsoft are betting on this enhancement to wireless growth. The move would also help alleviate the coming shortage of bandwidth. The approval for Super WiFi could also benefit consumers in that there would be wider choice in wireless providers.

Currently only a few companies are licensed to deliver digital networking to access the Internet. Yet with more spectrum available other companies could bid on the right to deliver wireless digital content. This could drive competition in both prices and services available. Imagine having a wireless device without needing a cell phone plan? All you would have to do is pay for the data package you need.

The Super WiFi Summit, on August 27th-29th 2013, will host industry discussions on the use and capabilities that will come with Super WiFi implementation.   A subject of great importance to entering into the white space arena is FCC spectrum regulation and how it might affect companies wanting to participate in development.   Insiders will be on hand to examine the influence of TV auctions and the FCCs plans for unlicensed spectrum.

Edited by Ashley Caputo

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