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Google Urges National Inventory of Radio Spectrum

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the staking-claims-on-the-luminiferous-aether dept.

Google 79

Hugh Pickens writes "Google, the wireless industry, and consumer advocates have come together to support a bill that would require the federal government to take a complete inventory of the national airwaves to determine what spectrum is being used, how it is being used and who is using it. The government needs to clean up its sloppy record keeping, they say, or the US risks running out of wireless capacity with the increasing use of the mobile Internet. 'Radio spectrum is a natural resource, something that here in the US is owned by all of us American citizens,' wrote Richard Whitt, Google's counsel for telecom and media. 'Most of us don't give it much thought — and yet use of these airwaves is precisely what makes many of our modern communication systems possible.' The new law, if passed, would require the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to report on the use of all spectrum bands between 300 megahertz and 3.5 gigahertz, including information on the licenses or government user operating in each band and whether the spectrum is actually in use. The unusual alliance between Google, public interest groups, and big telecommunications companies may be temporary. The telecom companies want to have the opportunity to buy any extra spectrum at an auction while Google advocates the use of new technologies that would allow the spectrum to be shared by whoever needs it."

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Way to go, Google. (2)

FlickieStrife (1304115) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884629)

The idea of shared spectrum, i like it. Basically like Public access tv, but in microwaves and without the creepy guys singing mary had a little lamb.

Fuck you linus and the horse you rode in on (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884961)

Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average computer user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to check their mail with, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:Way to go, Google. (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27886189)

The idea of shared spectrum, i like it. Basically like Public access tv, but in microwaves and without the creepy guys singing mary had a little lamb.

Oh you don't know the half of it. I work for the Public Access station in my city and we have crazy mexican dance shows with accordion-playing large-moustached men hopping around a room. It's fucking crazy.

Re:Way to go, Google. (2, Funny)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#27887745)

Its fucking awesome, that's what it is! :D

Spectrum should not be opened for auction (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884649)

RF waves surround us and penetrates us. Only I should be allowed to determine what passes through my body, not some deep-pocketed, top-hat wearing moneybag.

Spectrum should be free!

Re:Spectrum should not be opened for auction (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884707)

You CAN determine which RF waves pass through your body right now. Say hello to tin foil!

Re:Spectrum should not be opened for auction (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884847)

That's like saying you should be allowed to determine what light enters your eyes.

Re:Spectrum should not be opened for auction (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885299)

If only my eyes had some kind of lid that I could close to block out light.

Re:Spectrum should not be opened for auction (1)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885575)

Oh yeah! Tell THAT [freddyo.com] to the FCC.. They'll laugh in your face.

National Parks (5, Insightful)

Ozoner (1406169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884667)

Great idea...

It's like Big Business saying "National Parks are not in use, so you should sign them all over to us..."

Re:National Parks (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885169)

Funny you should mention that; because that is pretty damn close to what happens.

Now, actually signing over national parks, particularly the photogenic ones, would be a bit too noticeable; but the stuff that gets pulled on second tier regions is pretty shocking.

Good old Teapot Dome [wikipedia.org] is perhaps the instance with the highest historical profile; but exploitation of federally held lands by private interests, often destructively(overgrazing, hard rock mining, etc.) and almost universally for pennies on the dollar of their actual value is the rule rather than the exception.

Re:National Parks (4, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885195)

Anyone can get a permit to cut wood in a National Forest. It is public land, after all. And recently, businesses have been given the same opportunity in order to clear out wood that would otherwise contribute to the frequency and severity of forest fires.

Besides, unlike National Parks, the government isn't saving radio spectrum for future generations. They're just denying access to a common resource.

Re:National Parks (1)

khams (1552605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27918955)

How we use or abuse public lands today will affect how future generations. The RF spectrum can't be used or abused into extension, as far as I know anyway. The government has never denied access to the RF spectrum. A "free for all" use of the spectrum would render that public resource useless. What one could call denying access to a public resource could also be called resource management. Not everyone is going to be happy about how it's managed.

Re:National Parks (1)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27926137)

18 trees make for nice tipi poles. You get yourself a permit, go to the area that the service points to, and cut the trees marked for removal.

Re:National Parks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27885645)

Really? When you begin consuming radio frequencies they deteriorate like National Parks do? I never knew.

Re:National Parks (2, Funny)

ignavus (213578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885803)

Great idea...

It's like Big Business saying "National Parks are not in use, so you should sign them all over to us..."

Yeah. I often like to wander through the unused areas of the spectrum admiring the peace and quiet.

Re:National Parks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27887691)

Hmmmm. I think that is the policy of the last 8 years and most of the 80's.

Double talk (1)

Ozoner (1406169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884715)

'Radio spectrum is a natural resource, something that here in the US is owned by all of us American citizens,'

So we should hand it over to Big Business to make a profit from.

Double talk, you say? (0, Troll)

thedrx (1139811) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885149)

Double post, much? Ah right, Big Business rage. Definitely warrants posting about it over and over again.

what happened to the front page? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884727)

When I'm logged in, the front page is an rss feed. What the fuck? N one else seems to notice/care.

Re:what happened to the front page? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884753)

That happened to me to, but I had Slashdot render in the "low bandwidth" mode. I set it back, and it worked like it used to. Perhaps that was the problem?

Re:what happened to the front page? (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885039)

Happened to me too.

Re:what happened to the front page? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885047)

i was annoyed at that too at first, but i am starting to like that uncluttered look...

Re:what happened to the front page? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885329)

I have been noticing issues as well. All day going to slashdot.org has sent me to the RSS feed (strangely without any advertisements - which is good) but I have a hard time getting to the actual front page.

Re:what happened to the front page? (1)

Kugrian (886993) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885223)

I stopped looking at that years ago. Full of damned articles!

Same issue here. I prefer it. Had two netbooks choke on the front page in the past due to all the javascript.

Let Me Be The First To Tag This... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27884885)

" report on the use of all spectrum bands between 300 megahertz and 3.5 gigahertz, including information on the licenses or government user operating in each band and whether the spectrum is actually in use."

Let me be the first to tag this "goodluckwiththat"

Its noteworthy ... (2, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884909)

... that this exercise is only being conducted on the spectrum above 300 MHz. Up where the telecoms are interested in buying it.

Re:Its noteworthy ... (2, Interesting)

drmofe (523606) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885357)

And stops at 3.5GHz, bizarrely, while there is still a lot of very useful spectrum above and beyond that, including the ISM and UNII bands at 5GHz. No point in going as far as 60GHz, since that is next to useless, apparently.

Re:Its noteworthy ... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27887563)

The higher the frequency, the more data it can carry, but the easier it is to block. The recent hype about 60MHz is just that; hype. You can push a lot of data through it, but it can be blocked by pretty much anything (even a decent amount of air will significantly degrade it, so don't expect long line-of-sight connections). It would be great for something like a personal-area network, or maybe a wireless DVI connection, but it's far from practical even for a home WLAN, let alone for a WMAN.

Re:Its noteworthy ... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27892595)

But 60MHz is below FM radio and has less bandwidth than 2.4GHz.

Nice typo....

Re:Its noteworthy ... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27896017)

Ooops. That's what happens when I post without finishing my coffee.

Re:Its noteworthy ... (1)

Rigrig (922033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890749)

No point in going as far as 60GHz, since that is next to useless, apparently.

I call dibs on the 790-400 terahertz band!

Re:Its noteworthy ... (1)

khams (1552605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27919035)

Fortunately "buying" spectrum, appears to be more akin to leasing.

At least it's not the HF bands... (3, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#27884915)

But this could screw over amateur radio... a bunch of very desirable spectrum combined with the people actually using it dying off.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27885003)

So.

The printing press and Morse code killed the Town crier.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885109)

Exactly. Radios were cool in their time. But what does it give you in the internet age that a chat room or forum doesn't?

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885135)

Half decent eletronics knowledge

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885179)

The ability to communicate when persons unknown snip the fiber? (not that that ever happens..)

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (2, Informative)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885635)

Exactly. Radios were cool in their time. But what does it give you in the internet age that a chat room or forum doesn't?

An ad hoc emergency communication network when your precious internet, cell phone, etc, fails (see 9/11, Katrina, etc). It may seem old hat, but these "uncool" radios and the people who operate them can help save lives when all hell breaks loose.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (4, Interesting)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27888119)

I've got news for you. The notion that HAM's can step in and effectively fill a void in such a rare scenario is, largely, a myth. And before you start, I am a licensed amateur radio operator and a retired emergency services professional (fire and EMS), so yes, I do know what I am talking about.
It is true that there are groups of disciplined operators, who are given the opportunity to train with emergency services agencies, so that capabilities may be known and proper procedures worked out and learned. These dedicated amateurs can indeed be a valuable resource, if properly utilized. I've seen it work that way, but unfortunately, such situations are extremely rare. Most hams would simply get in the way, often through no fault of their own.
So let's dispense with the "...because there might be a flood, or something..." argument for

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890019)

In the last rounds of floods around here (CN88) the county emcommies did a great job of dashboard surveys. As far as large-scale events: earthquakes, use of hams is a large part of the scenario when the county's trunking system goes down. On the Indian rez where I live we're putting a D-Star repeater (73cm) up with full support of the Tribal EOM and PD. We're also working on a HF net between the local tribes to pass health & welfare traffic mostly because everyone is related to everyone.

There is a lot going on these days in some areas but I do agree that the safety-vest gang does need to get training (at least IS-200 if not IS-400, and a CERT class) to know when to keep out of the way.

73 de w7com

http://tribalhams.net/ [tribalhams.net]
http://hamsexy.com/ [hamsexy.com]

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27892695)

However if I have a Radio in my house/car I can still talk with others who also have radios. While it may not assist the emergency services it can still be valuable for those who have one.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27892677)

CB is perfect if you are driving in a convoy because it's direct communication no matter where the convoy goes you have constant communications. Phone coverage is no longer an issue, there's nothing more frustrating than when you can't talk to someone just 100meters in front of you because at least one of you is out of the coverage area.

You can also make contact with other road users in your area, this ability is quite useful when travelling in more remote area's.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885869)

Exactly. Radios were cool in their time. But what does it give you in the internet age that a chat room or forum doesn't?

A connection to your server at 9600 kbaud from (almost) any were in the world without internet.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27886127)

Access to a telephone system nearly anywhere, including places where there's no cell phone reception, for one.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27886239)

Exactly. Radios were cool in their time. But what does it give you in the internet age that a chat room or forum doesn't?

One of the very first hf contacts I ever made was to an electrical engineer in Queensland Australia on 10 meters. It was a fun conversation made with a kit radio using the most fundamental mode of radio - cw.

The thing that impressed me the most about what I did was the fact that I did it on my own without relying on a 3rd party company to wire and maintain the network, a software company to maintain the software or anything like that. It was in fact the most fundamental mode of modern day communication - if society reset itself to zero tomorrow - I could still pull off this feat, whereas if you don't pay your isp bill or they go out of business you're out of luck.

How many things about your modern life can you say this about?

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27888179)

On your own, eh? Really?
Tell me about your rig. Did you build it yourself? No, I mean all of it. No? I didn't think so. If it was a solid-state rig, you'd likely never be able to fabricate all of the components. If it was tube rig, did you wind your own transformers? Fabricate their cores yourself? Roll your own capacitors? And I will assume that you, like virtually all overly romantic radio amateurs, lack any of the arcane skills required to actually make your own vacuum tubes.

- if society reset itself to zero tomorrow - I could still pull off this feat

Sorry, but no. You could not.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890247)

I'm sure I could scrounge enough parts up to do it again surely. It was only like 20 components on a single pc board.

I could easily claim to perform this act after society collapsed than you could claim to build a computer and comment on your favorite chat board - lets put it that way - because more than likely I'll still have my radio equipment, and while you'll still have your computer - good luck connecting it to anything (and even better luck powering it) - and that is my major point.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27892771)

That's what I prefer about radio's, the lack of infrastructure requirements.

Ok they aren't the most convenient way to contact someone, I don't know anyone who carries a 2-way around just in case someone tries to contact them. But when the phone networks fail the radios will still work.

"Don't worry everyone I saved this radio for the apocalypse, Oh fuck, does anyone have batteries?"

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27888041)

Yeah, well what if you were stranded on a desert island (or in deepest suburbia during a fiber cut) and only had a car battery and a bunch of copper wire. You could make a spark-gap transmitter and call for help in Morse code.
So that's why we should make you whippersnappers learn CW. And another thing..., oh. They don't need to learn CW anymore? Well..., that's why we should keep vast swaths of valuable, but largely unused, radio spectrum reserved exclusively for a few elitist paleo-nerds. Now get off my lawn!

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

beej (82035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27889639)

Speaking as one of those people who goes outside beyond the range of cell phone service (it's not mythological--I've actually been there), having a 5 W handheld radio has been very useful for coordinating with other members of my party...

But I admit I'm in a tiny minority of people who have such a use for a radio where FRS is insufficient, sadly.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#27892633)

Two-way-radios are still playing an important role today. They just go unnoticed because almost everyone's carrying a phone, where once any vehicle to vehicle (or in fact any portable) comms had to be done via 2-way.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

iHaTe (1541167) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885085)

not true, this is why the f call license was brought inn, because of the decline in hams. the numbers are starting to build back up. some thing else too look at http://www.wia.org.au/newsevents/news/2009/20090402-1/index.php [wia.org.au] honestly i just hope they stay away from the ham bands, anD CB. because who are the ones that help out, when the phone networks go down, US ! VK3FAIL Adam

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885191)

Don't worry, I'm sure the telcoes would be happy to promise, in a manner that is masterfully less legally binding than it appears, that phone service will not go down, in exchange for those bands...

"After all", their besuited weasels will whisper into congressional ears, "those ham bands aren't being proactively monetized..."

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27887701)

Just as the BBSes have died-out, so too should old-fashioned voice communications over open air. It's inefficient, especially now that we have digital radio which can squeeze 10 voice channels (using MP3 or AAC) or 100 plain-text channels, where there used to only be 1. Internet superseded private-lowed BBSes and now digital needs to supercede old analog radio.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885341)

I don't know how much they could actually touch. A lot of those bands are set aside under international agreements.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27885439)

Actually, the number of hams has gone up lately, not down, contrary to the thinking of most people. In the past, lots of "unusable" spectrum was given to hams, who found ways to use it. Eventually, much of that got taken away. I personally don't mind when different services get some spectrum, but I do HATE when we sell, in perpetuity, frequencies, so that some companies can make fortunes renting those same frequencies back to citizens and/or the government.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27886147)

Actually, the number of hams has gone up lately, not down, contrary to the thinking of most people. In the past, lots of "unusable" spectrum was given to hams, who found ways to use it.

True! "Those amateurs are clogging up the medium-wave band. Let's make them use short-wave, so they can't talk over long distances and we can use a useful band for useful things!" Then some ham realized that shortwave bounces and they took most of it back. :P

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (4, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27886211)

Disclaimer: I'm a ham radio operator - got my extra class license back when you had to pass a morse code test, and I'm 32.

Anyhow above 300 mhz most bands are technically tertiary use to hams if you do some investigation. Also most are somewhat small - I think 900 mhz being the exception where last I checked there was 28 mhz allocated to hams (going off memory here). There again there is way more bandwidth available the higher you go.

I think the part that is near impossible to determine is "is this bandwidth being used". In certain parts of the country (rural especially) you could listen to a frequency where you know there is a 911 paging service in place (specifically used to dispatch medics, alert doctors etc) and not hear a single thing for days, but that could easily be argued as an essential service.

I think what its aimed at is the military really - who technically has primary rights to all that bandwidth, and one could easily argue they don't use it all.

If google is reading this - please don't touch amateur radio - it is after all where a good amount of the innovators in modern communication come from, and if they can't experiment it will stifle your and our countries ability to innovate.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27887457)

I got the impression that the purpose was to actually find out what is being used. I'm actually a bit surprised that this doesn't exist already in the form of licensing records. It probably does, but isn't accessible or searchable in a useful manner. It would be a nice for-fee addition to the Google Earth maps for prospective operators to be able to view the spectrum map in their area.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27887891)

>>> I'm actually a bit surprised that this doesn't exist already in the form of licensing records. It probably does, but isn't accessible or searchable in a useful manner.

What may really surprise you, then, is the way the amateur radio bands above 300MHz, are allocated and used.

First, "licensing records" for the amateur radio service won't help you glean that information because individual amateurs are NOT assigned to a particular channel/frequency the way most other users of the spectrum are. Every ham who is, by dint of their license, allowed access to the various ham bands, does so on a *shared* basis with NO claim to the rights to a particular frequency.

Second, nearly all of the spectrum allocated to the amateur radio service above 300MHz is on a secondary basis to other services, usually to the government radiolocation service or other broadband noise generator. The few slivers that are primary to amateur radio are up in the microwave region at frequencies that are highly susceptible to attenuation due to resonance with various molecules, such as water and oxygen, and are considered undesireable by normal services.

Third, the reason the foregoing reasons work is that the amateur radio service uses a "listen before transmit" protocol, unlike many other spectrum users who assume that they have exclusive rights to a given frequency. This has been cited in many of the recent decisions by the FCC, both at the staff and Commission level as a stellar example of how things should REALLY work.

Fourth, much of the spectrum now being used by so-called "wireless devices", such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other unlicenses low-power emitters is spectrum that is already allocated to the amateur radio service on a secondary basis to the government radiolocation service - i.e., the 2.3, 3.4, and 5.7 GHz. bands.

Some folks seem to think that amateur radio is not using its current allocations, and that is simply not true. The 70cm band (420-450MHz) is heavily used for voice and data repeaters, as well as inter-repeater and control links, amateur television, and narrow-band communications. In fact, this heavy usage has caused heartburn for at least one of the government agencies using that band for its purposes, resulting in some re-engineering of the amateur facilities.The 23cm band (1240-1300MHz) is rapidly evolving as the band of choice for wideband data links (e.g. the 128kbit/sec D-Star systems), as well as mobile operations using FM analog voice repeaters, but again, in some geographic areas, careful (and quiet) discussions over technical parameters of such activites with the primary users was/is necessary.

So, before Google or anyone else decides they want to steamroll over other spectrum users, they need to consider the ramifications of what they want. It's taken a hell of a lot of work by many, many differing interests to make the 700MHz band available to land-mobile, particularly public service agencies, and the technology to permit the use of wi-fi devices on unused television channels has been developed. Many government and non-government users in the 2GHz region have been shifted around in the spectrum to make room for 3G cell phones so teeny-boppers can download music videos and text each other while driving. It would be nice to see the spectrum used in a more sensible manner, rather than squandered.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890081)

UPMOD the AC above Informative.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27890279)

First, "licensing records" for the amateur radio service won't help you glean that information because individual amateurs are NOT assigned to a particular channel/frequency the way most other users of the spectrum are. Every ham who is, by dint of their license, allowed access to the various ham bands, does so on a *shared* basis with NO claim to the rights to a particular frequency.

Well ham radio no (with the voluntary exception of repeaters and space stations, but this isn't controlled by the fcc), but many commercial radio services are licensed to a set or fixed set of frequencies.

Re:At least it's not the HF bands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27886277)

Geeze, what a high cost. Actual use in exchange for people getting to fool around with dials and circuits.

Ok, sarcasm over I know it's not a perfect trade. But it's still the better one.

" ...to be shared by whoever needs it." (2, Funny)

iFiLa (1217788) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885077)

Who has the torrent?

Who Is This "us"? (2, Insightful)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885147)

I'm not sure who "us" in "owned by all of us American citizens" is supposed to be. I know I'm a citizen, and my neighbor is one too. But the last time I checked, Google is not a United States citizen. Only people can be citizens. People are people, my dog thinks he's people, and even Soylent Green is people, but Google is not a member of the "people" class.

Perhaps the lawyer meant "owned by all of the American citizens" or "owned by all of you American Citizens". Because if Google's not a citizen, they sure can't own any radio spectrum. Unless Google things they own something that doesn't belong to them...

Re:Who Is This "us"? (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27887575)

You know, Google doesn't actually write things. People employed by Google write things, and a great many of them are US citizens.

Parallel Data Transfer over multiple spectrums? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27885159)

I have a question.

Can you rig multiple spectrums into a network to run parallel data transfers?

If feasible, shouldn't we all be pushing to kill off the use of all these spectrums being hogged by telcoms and tv broadcast and radio stations (mostly, leave a few for backup or emergency purposes) and convert them ALL to data transfer spectrums to a 'new internet' that pipes data in parallel? What bandwidth problems would exist if so? And we could force all media providers from tv to radio to movie and so forth to give up cable companies and telcos and move to one big public network where everyone is an end user and all media can be served up a la carte to any device anywhere.

Even if you can't pull off parallel transfer, it would still make sense to convert many spectrums to 'dumb transfer' networks so that they could be shared in the same way websites share the internet. In other words, you use the 'lines' to pull down the content you want, and it isn't being hogged by a single broadcaster with limited media and communcation selections.

Isn't it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27885199)

...more Google's speed to drive around in unmarked vans and survey things for themselves? Why does the government need to get involved?

Re:Isn't it... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27894073)

Because simply inventorying the spectrum won't do a damn bit of good without the FCC on board.

Whether or not the FCC should be "stewards" () of the spectrum in the first place is another thing.

Does this tinfoil hat make me look fat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27885205)

I know the mantra around here is 'never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence' but having worked on projects requiring licensing for experiments in bands slated for consumer use I have repeatedly been forced to resubmit applications with specific band segments specifically excluded. Not only is big brother watching you, he is doing it via bands intended for your personal use.

They're actually onto something. (4, Interesting)

ciscoguy01 (635963) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885267)

Before Nextel was bought by Sprint that company (Nextel) was run by some shrewed cookies. They would find a frequency that was not currently being used, and put a beacon on it. Somehow this claimed it for them.

There's *lots* of spectrum that is not being used, like the 2 MHz part of the 220MHz Amateur band that was taken away from ham radio but never actually used by UPS, for whom it was taken.

There are channels of the 2.6 GHz licensed band in LA that have been licensed to the Catholic church for decades and they have continuous analog video on it related to Catholic schools. Like they need that today! I heard about that from the coordination authority for that band. No channels were available, but not for good reason.

If Google's idea is that underutilized spectrum should be opened up to shared usage that might be much better than the way it is now.

Re:They're actually onto something. (1)

tekshogun (1110191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906707)

The issue comes down to bandwidth. The higher the frequency, the more you can do with it. The entire radio spectrum is extremely valuable, especially below 50MHz in the VHF "low band" area around 40 MHz and even getting into HF mixed in with the 10 and 11 meter wavelengths where military has some stuff. These frequencies all over the charts have ups and downs of use. Some are great for long distance communication with out the use of satellites but they have lower bandwidth. The higher ones don't skip off the atmosphere or ground very well but have higher bandwidth and some are actually pretty good about penetrating buildings, bending over geographic features such as hills and small mountain areas. So Google is insterested in 300MHz and higher because anything less than that is practically useless. Also, there are major rebanding projects going on for 800MHz public safety systems to "free up" more space for other use. We ham operators cherish our UHF, particularly the mid-400MHz area and many of us would like to get into 900MHz but there is little or no real consumer ham gear made for 33cm (900MHz) and we must rely on potentially pricey commercial radios and repeater equipment to make use of it effective. We also have spectrums well into the GHz arena. Just leave ham radio alone and we'll be alright.

Why Only 300Mhz - 3.5 GHz? (1)

blantonl (784786) | more than 5 years ago | (#27885689)

Why is the lower limit of this proposal 300 MHz?

300 MHz is right smack-dab in the middle of a US Military "owned" spectrum space (225-400Mhz).

Furthermore, the most valuable spectrum in the United States starts at around 50MHz and goes upwards from there. Why would we not include that spectrum?

Re:Why Only 300Mhz - 3.5 GHz? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27886271)

Last I checked the us military has primary rights to pretty much every bit of spectrum in this country - I think they'd be hard pressed to actually claim they use it all or that they ever would.

300 mhz thought is where a lot of their geo stationary com sats live though - including the ones the Brazilians have been pirating.

why not 30MHz to 1THz? (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 5 years ago | (#27886053)

Why not 3MHz to 1THz(or higher)? excluding the ISM [wikipedia.org] , HAM [wikipedia.org] , and CB [wikipedia.org] frequencies.

This Is goatsMex (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27886779)

Standpoint, I doN't 'Yes' to any

It's about damn time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27893451)

As a Ham Radio Op, it's about time this is done!

LEAVE IT TO ME, I'LL STRAIGHTEN IT OUT (1)

khams (1552605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27918317)

Public Safety agencies, PBS, and Amateur Radio will have free access to spectrum. The CB and FRS radio services will al have free access to the piddling slices of spectrum. The BS of Spectrum auctions wil end, to be replaced by competative bidding for, for profit commercial users of spectrum. Commercial broadcasters would be required, to allow any party able to purchase air time to do so, at the same price as all other parties, and the time slots will rotate so all have access to choice time slots. Understanding guard bands are for, experimentation would begin to determine if low power, narrow bandwidth signals could use them without undue interference to the, primary users.

Hopefully Google's grab for spectrum will end up like UPS's spectrum grab, ending up with handfuls of dust, because others shot IPS out of the saddle when it was all over with.

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