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Google making more (air) waves

The search giant is trying to convince the FCC to open up unused wireless spectrum for broadband Internet use.

Google has demonstrated experimental technologies to the Federal Communications Commission in an effort to pressure the agency to open up unused wireless spectrum between TV channels for broadband Internet use.

Google, Microsoft, Intel, Dell, and EarthLink formed the White Space Coalition earlier this year to lobby the FCC and Congress to open up the empty and unused channels in the broadcast TV bands, called "white space." They believe this unlicensed spectrum could be used as a wireless broadband pipe into homes, serving as an alternative to cable and DSL.

But TV broadcasters oppose the move, arguing that unlicensed devices in that spectrum would interfere with television broadcasts, potentially affecting the federally mandated move from analog to digital TV service.

Google's test results last week "demonstrate that digital televisions (DTVs) and wireless microphones can be amply protected from harmful interference by unlicensed personal/portable devices, using reasonable power levels and sensing thresholds," Richard Whitt, Google's Washington telecom and media counsel, wrote in a letter to the FCC.

Google also is bidding on 700-megahertz band spectrum, which like white space spectrum, can cover long distances and penetrate walls, thus making it ideal for wireless broadband.

Google representatives first demonstrated broadband spectrum technologies that reliably detect digital TV signals "well below the noise floor," the letter said. They also demonstrated interference mitigation technologies utilizing short-burst transmissions.