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SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Microsoft, Google Fighting for Unused Spectrum between TV Channels

from Scientific American

Microsoft, Google and several more of the world's largest and most influential technology companies have found a way to provide wireless Internet access that is so fast it makes today's Wi-Fi networks seem as sluggish as dial-up service.

The prospect, however, has big media broadcasters up in arms, because this blazing-fast network access may hamper television signals when they go digital next year. In a test conducted last year by the Federal Communications Commission, wireless devices blanked out digital programming on nearby television sets.

At the heart of the dilemma are so-called white spaces, the chunks of unused bandwidth layered between TV channels that are designed to keep broadcast signals from interfering with one another. These spaces will get even bigger on February 17, 2009, the legally mandated day for TV broadcasts to go completely digital, freeing up more of the airwaves.

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