By Peter Kaplan and Eric Auchard
WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc on Monday unveiled plans for a new generation of wireless devices to operate on soon-to-be-vacant television airwaves, and sought to alleviate fears that this might interfere with TV broadcasts or wireless microphones.
In comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission, the Internet leader outlined plans for low-power devices that use local wireless airwaves to access the “white space” between television channels. A Google executive called the plan “Wi-Fi 2.0 or Wi-Fi on steroids.”
“The airwaves can provide huge economic and social gains if used more efficiently …,” Google said in the comments.
Rick Whitt, Google’s Washington telecom and media counsel, said this class of Wi-Fi devices could eventually offer data transmission speeds of billions of bits per second — far faster than the millions of bits per second available on most current broadband networks. Consumers could watch movies on wireless devices and do other things that are currently difficult on slower networks.