Financial Times: Shooting Blanks on Wireless Policy, Thomas Hazlett

US regulators are designating that unused TV channels be made available for low-power wireless devices. The move – pushed by tech giants Microsoft, Google, HP, and Dell — is hailed as “liberalisation”, paving the way for “Wi-Fi on steroids.” The exact same hype, including a similar “licence-exempt” plan, inspired a 2005 bandwidth set-aside for WiMax (at 3.6 GHz) that has since flopped. The TV Band initiative is likewise a debacle in the making. In December 2002, the Federal Communications Commission announced its intention to permit short-range wireless devices to use unoccupied TV airwaves. With 49 channels reserved for digital TV stations (the last analog stations went dark in June 2009), and only eight stations in the average market, the abundant frequencies were left to go fallow, in what are known as “white spaces.”  Full article available on  Also available by [PDF Download] on Prof. Hazlett’s faculty profile.

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