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White spaces

David Isenberg blogs about white space, a telecom term for unused frequencies in the radio waves portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, here specifically referring to using available digital television spectrum. Google and the New America Foundation had a meeting on white spaces or pervasive connectivity, “open airwaves, open networks.” David says this “seems an over-reach without a systems approach that includes pervasive fiber and already-deployed wireless protocols, such as Wi-Fi and LTE.”

Who’s going to build devices in such scale that they’ll out price-performance Wi-Fi? Who’s going to offer service that’ll out-pervade the cellular network? And what about that one critical factor that every wireless network must consider, backhaul

He sees this as another in a series of experiments, but he’s lookng for “a big, synoptic plan that rises above specific technologies and specific policy agendas, that uses all of the expertise available, to craft a comprehensive vision worthy of the moniker ‘Pervasive Connectivity.'”

Suppose in the next few months we get the opportunity to propose a real plan for Pervasive Connectivity for our nation, could we rise to the occasion? Or would we remain conditioned to the mindset of the last eight years, when small increments counted as great victories. Naomi Klein cites Milton Friedman’s idea that in a nodal moment, the ideas implemented are the ideas lying around. Rick Perlstein, in an essay called, A Liberal Shock Doctrine, points out that even progressive progress occurs in spurts, at opportune times. We shouldn’t limit our vision to one specific technology or one tactically available sliver of spectrum. Now is the time to have a comprehensive plan “lying around” for the network we really want.

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