FCC Offers New, Promising Approach on TV White Spaces

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Today, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced a new proposal, to be voted on by the full Commission at the end of the month, on the use of spectrum in what is known as the television white spaces. TV white spaces are unallocated bands or allocated and unused bands of spectrum in certain, largely rural geographic areas. These spectrum bands are additionally suitable for providing wireless broadband Internet signals, which is central to Chairman Pai’s proposal.

Spectrum is ultimately a finite resource and thus, so long as government, rather than markets, continues to control the allocation of spectrum in the United States, the more spectrum that can be made available for commercial use, the better. Further, TV white space spectrum presents the opportunity to deliver high-speed, wireless Internet signals to wide, underserved areas in a far less resource-intensive fashion than other technologies.

CEI looks forward to reviewing Chairman Pai’s proposal in its entirety and offering more detailed comments should the full commission choose to adopt the proposal at its February 28 meeting.