NAB: Say No to "White Space" Internet

Claiming to be acting on behalf of television viewers, the National Association of Broadcasters launched an effort to block measures to use so called "white space" for rural high-speed internet.

In early August, the FCC struck down a proposed device that would have utilized unused portions of TV spectrum to bring high-speed internet access to rural areas. The regulatory agency claimed that the device could not reliably find unused spectrum, and cause interference.

The NAB joined the FCC in opposition on Tuesday, saying that it will garner support of the agency's decision by running television and print ads in the Washington, DC area. It is likely aiming to get the ear of politicians, who may end up having the final say in the matter.

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"Interference is not acceptable to our viewers. While our friends at Intel, Google and Microsoft may find system errors, computer glitches and dropped calls tolerable, broadcasters do not," NAB chairman Alan Frank said. "Consumers know that computers unexpectedly shut down. TVs don't. TVs work and people expect them to work."

At a press conference, the NAB said the future of their business depends on interference-free broadcasts as the switch is made from analog to digital signals. The group also took issue with supporters of the product claiming that broadcasters oppose the rollout of rural broadband.

"Broadcasters support rural broadband through a fixed service," NAB president David Rehr said. "The issue is whether these not-yet-invented devices should be deployed at the expense of broadcast television. We think such a move would be wrongheaded."

The NAB also plans to send a letter to FCC chairman Kevin Martin dispelling any rumors of opposition to rural broadband.

Several electronics manufacturers have stepped forward to assist the NAB, including LG Electronics, to provide their support to the efforts to stop white space broadband.

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