Google Co-Founder Larry Page Giddy For White Spaces - InformationWeek
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Google Co-Founder Larry Page Giddy For White Spaces

The technical executive of the search engine said utilizing white spaces is good for the country, and it could increase the company's revenue by as much as 30%.

The Federal Communications Commission's decision to enable unlicensed public use of TV white spaces will lead to tremendous business and productivity opportunities, especially for Google, co-founder Larry Page said Thursday.

During a keynote session with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Page repeatedly said he is optimistic about the future of devices and services that use these white spaces for cheap wireless broadband. He expects the majority of computers and cell phones to have white spaces capability within the next few years.

White spaces sit between broadcast TV channels and can potentially be used for high-speed wireless access. Google, along with companies like Microsoft and Motorola, has been lobbying the FCC for unlicensed use. But broadcasters, telecoms, wireless microphone makers, and even music performers have been adamantly opposed on grounds that it may interfere with nearby spectrum.

"One of the ironies is that wireless mics are a great example of how unlicensed spectrum can be used, as a lot of them did not go through the FCC certification process," said Martin.

One of the main appeals of using the white spaces is that it can go through multiple walls and cover large geographic areas. Page and Martin envision a not-too-distant future where these white spaces are utilized to provide access to widespread wireless broadband, particularly in rural areas, which have long lagged in broadband penetration.

"The government should be encouraging its infrastructure to have nice high-speed wireless everywhere; it's good for the country and good for the economy," Page said.

However, Google and companies like Microsoft and Motorola do not just have altruistic reasons for wanting the white spaces to be unlicensed, as having easy access to high-speed Internet presents multiple revenue opportunities.

"We make most of our money on advertising on search, and there are a lot of times I can't easily do a Web search even with 3G or open Wi-Fi networks," Page said. "If people can get easily connected anywhere [with white spaces], we can make 20% to 30% more money."

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