Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

3.13.07 MSFT, GOOG in coalition to deliver Internet over TV airwaves

Posted by Richard Koman - March 13, 2007

Internet, online and on the air

Microsoft, Google, Dell, HP, Intel and Philips say they can deliver Internet over TV airwaves - and they're pushing the FCC to give them the green light, says the Washington Post.

The coalition has come up with a device that would make TV-spectrum Internet work in homes. After a few months of testing, they're hoping the agency will approve the device and that it could be sold in stores by 2009.

"These devices have the potential to take the success of the WiFi phenomenon to another level," said Jonathan S. Adelstein, an FCC commissioner.

That would mean a little competition for the cable companies and telcos, which of course also control massive amounts of content.

And really the greatest use of TV Internet would probably be in rural areas, where it's hard and expensive to get wired net and wireless solutions have proven too flaky. IMO, it should also work in urban areas where underprivileged can't afford to pay $60 a month for cable Internet. In any case, it could have a positive effect on municipal wireless networks.

In urban areas, a TV Internet system might somehow be combined with phone- or cable-provided Internet service to redirect signals through every wall of a house or office -- without replacing the phone or cable company as the provider, said a person affiliated with the coalition. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record about such possible uses.

Google's the only company without a serious hardware business. What are they doing in the coalition? It's a new Internet platform, the article notes, and it gives them another option for alternative access to the Net. Recall that Google invests in Internet-over-power-line companies as well.

"It recognizes that the heart of the problem is a lack of competition on the broadband platform," said Rick Whitt, Google's telecom and media counsel in Washington. "We're very interested in finding ways to create platforms for other broadband connectivity."

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