U.S. & World
U.S. & World

The Free WiFi War in the U.S. Continues

By on February 6, 2013

The creation of a massive free WiFi throughout the United States has sparked controversy, and the free WiFi war in the U.S. continues…

A vast network of WiFi, can penetrate thick walls of concrete, with signal available through hills and trees. It is the dream of every Internet user. If this would be public and free, it would be a utopia.

However, it is not. Roughly, the plan is that the U.S. government proposes and whose approval the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is discussing these days.

With supporters such as Google and Microsoft, and critics, as the leading providers of mobile and broadband, the initiative has ignited the debate on U.S. technological world.


But, the real discussion that sparked the war has nothing to do with being free but with access.

Completion of the plan is directly related to the release of a portion of -195 MHz 5 GHz-band electronic spectrum available for unlicensed users, a segment coveted by major cellular carriers.

The electromagnetic spectrum is the energy distribution of electromagnetic waves. It travels through waves of telecommunications, radio and television, among others.

The discussion is not new. Already in 2008, just before the transition from analog to digital TV liberate significant portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the issue was a matter of debate in Congress.

With Obama in office, the issue became a priority for the Commission, which in 2010 launched the National Broadband Plan, which sought to strengthen and massively broadband provision across the United States.

Today she put on the table, since the decision to be closed on February 20, with the FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, as the driving force behind the measure.

Supporters, detractors and THE LOBBY

The idea was widely accepted within technology providers, including Google and Microsoft.

Particularly because experience indicates that the access of ordinary people to part of the spectrum is one of the clearest and most powerful seeds for technological innovation and the creation of software and new development, which in the medium and long term end up benefit large companies in Silicon Valley.

“The release of unlicensed spectrum is a vibrant free-market approach, offering low barriers to entry for innovators of the future technological development, and that will benefit consumers,” said Julius Genachowski, FCC chairman in an internal mail , published by the Washington Post.

In this experts agree. “There is a gain in economic activity by stimulating the creators of devices, software and apps that are associated with users of the platform without a license,” he told the BBC says Jeffrey Silva, an analyst at technology and telecommunications Medley Global Advisors.

Those who are not so happy are the mobile operators and hardware vendors. “The real fight is between mobile operators and friends of Silicon Valley,” says Silva.

AT & T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Wireless, Intel and Qualcomm have sent a letter to the Federal Commission suggesting focus attention on the electromagnetic spectrum to sell to companies who know the subject.

“The key point here is that the existing spectrum users, especially mobile phone companies are reluctant to any opening that benefits unlicensed users. If an injection spectrum availability, they expect to have priority, “explains Silva told the BBC.

There is another detail. The government hopes to “buy” small users mass spectrum as local TV or local radio stations for free.

Mobile phone companies expected that it would release more spectrum licenses.  Some companies have gone even a step further, warning that the plan could interfere with cellular signal or television broadcasts.

Beyond the discussion of the moment, it will take years to implement the plan, which probably involves interference from other neighboring services spectrum.