Universal TV White Space Broadband? US Broadband Penetration Grows to 92.1% among Active Internet Users

November 20, 2008 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
Website Optimization is announcing that the FCC has approved the regulated use of the "white spaces" between and among the unused analog TV channels, for unlicensed devices. With the transition to digital television by February 2009, the soon to be empty analog channels can be used for other purposes. Some estimate that wireless providers could use the lower frequency TV spectrum to provide universal broadband access for every household in America for as little as $10 per month (Calabrese and Scott 2006). In other news, among active Internet users, broadband penetration in the US grew to 92.08% in October 2008, up 0.28 percentage points over last month.

FCC Approves TV White Space Broadband

With the move to digital television, the question becomes what to do with all of those unused analog TV channels? Despite opposition by the entrenched broadcast television media, many have lobbied to release this unused spectrum to the public to create a widespread, low-cost wireless network. The rules adopted by the FCC on November 4, 2008, will allow for the use of unlicensed devices in the unused TV spectrum to provide broadband data and other services for consumers and businesses. Since the lower frequencies used in television broadcasting travel farther than higher frequncy WiFi and WiMAX signals and better penetrate buildings, this ruling by the FCC opens the way for wide-spread deployment of broadband over rural areas and the United States.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said that the approval of rules authorizing the use of TV white spaces spectrum "is a significant victory for consumers… Opening the white spaces will allow for the creation of a WiFi on steroids."

In one study by the New America Foundation and the Free Press, from 30% to 82% of the TV band spectrum will be vacant after the transition to DTV (Calabrese and Scott 2006). These vacant TV channels (unused television frequencies between 54-698 MHz [TV Channels 2-51]) are the perfect vehicle for a new universal wireless broadband network. By some estimates, the wireless broadband industry could deliver universal broadband Internet access of at least 10Mbyte per second to every American household for as little as $10 a month, using these white spaces.

Home Connectivity in the US

US broadband penetration grew to 92.08% in October 2008. Dial-up users connecting at 56Kbps or less now make up 7.92% of active Internet users, down 0.28 percentage points from 8.2% in September 2008 (see Figure 1).

For the full "November 2008 Bandwidth Report" visit

About The Bandwidth Report

The Bandwidth Report is a monthly roundup of connectivity trends in the US and elsewhere compiled by Website Optimization Each month's bandwidth report offers the latest statistics in Internet connectivity and broadband trends, including:

* Home Connectivity in the US
* Broadband Growth in the US
* Work Connectivity
* Broadband Trends in the US, Canada, and other countries