Dear Rural Advocate:
This October, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to complete a rulemaking process that could open the door to solving the rural broadband Internet access problem.
Or, this rulemaking could further delay a solution to the lack of affordable broadband which handicaps so many of our rural communities.
The ruling will decide whether or not vacant TV channels — which become available next February when TV goes digital — may be used for unlicensed wireless broadband Internet access. The technology is similar to the popular wireless broadband — known as Wi-Fi — now used in homes, airports, and coffee shops nationwide.
These TV channels (part of our public airwaves) are far superior to the unlicensed spectrum currently used for Wi-Fi access — and for a wealth of other useful wireless devices ranging from baby monitors to garage-door openers.
This spectrum has exceptional reach and coverage: Signals travel further, using less power than in the higher frequency bands, and can penetrate foliage and solid objects, making it easier and cheaper to construct networks. Unlicensed use of this spectrum is a cost-effective solution to the rural broadband problem, and it is close at hand.
Without unlicensed access to these vacant public channels, rural America will be condemned to even more years of absentee-owned telecommunications networks — and the dependency and neglect this system perpetuates.
A growing coalition of rural organizations — including the Center for Rural Strategies, Main Street Project, and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance — invite you to add your organization’s name to this letter urging the FCC to approve unlicensed use of the vacant TV channels.
This letter will be added to the official FCC file on the vacant TV channels (known in tech-speak as the “white spaces”).
To add your organization’s name to this important letter, send us an email stating this intent, the name of your organization as you would like it listed, and your title. To see who else is signing on, just go to: http://www.ruralstrategies.org/.
Thanks for supporting this historic effort to ensure affordable broadband for all!
Center for Rural Strategies
Main Street Project
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Native Public Media
Mountain Area Information Network
Southern California Tribal Digital Village
Center for Rural Affairs
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
HandMade in America