Posted by Paula BoydRegulatory Affairs Counsel
In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission proposed rules to allow anyone to use the vacant channels in the television band, the so called “TV white spaces”, for wireless broadband. Given the promise of greater broadband Internet access and the possibility of new broadband user scenarios Microsoft engaged the policy process and Microsoft Research began the technical work to realize the potential of the spectrum. Now it is up to the FCC to finalize its rules striking the right balance between protecting existing users and putting in place the right policy framework to enable broadband to emerge in the white spaces.
In order to develop as well as demonstrate the potential of the white spaces, Microsoft Research established a white spaces network on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. Using only two access points, Microsoft Research is able to provide Internet access covering one square mile of the campus. The network leverages the white spaces to allow employees to connect to the corporate network using their laptops or smart phones while travelling around the campus. In this instance, the white spaces made a wireless hotspot cost effective to deploy because signals transmitted over the white spaces cover a greater area than using today’s 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi technology.
At its open meeting on Thursday, the FCC can enable consumers to realize the tremendous potential of the white spaces by striking the right policy balance. In order to achieve this goal, the FCC must avoid the overly burdensome technological requirement that white spaces devices include both geolocation and sensing technology. Geolocation technology can effectively protect existing users. Requiring that sensing technology also be built into a device will increase cost and slow the introduction of the white spaces technology without improvements in interference protections.
Microsoft Senior Vice President and General Counsel Brad Smith took a moment after testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee to talk about security and privacy issues, particularly with regard to cloud computing and how proposed policy can influence technological development and growth as well as the impact on consumers and society in general.
You can find the full transcript of Brad Smith's remarks in front of the Senate Judiciary Hearing here.
For more about cloud computing policy issues and the importance of the decision in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, please see our earlier blog post by Fred Humphries, Microsoft Managing Director for Government Affairs.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to finalize rules that will enable the use of TV white spaces to provide wireless broadband connectivity.
“As more people access information via mobile and other intelligent devices, additional strain is being put on existing wireless networks,” said Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer. “Microsoft appreciates the hard work by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and the other FCC Commissioners and Congress leading up to this vote. Their action will deliver greater broadband connectivity to consumers, and promote growth and investment in a new generation of wireless broadband technologies.
Posted by Brad SmithSenior Vice President and General Counsel
Today, more than 10,000 friends, neighbors, colleagues and citizens will participate in the United Way of King County Day of Caring. It’s an opportunity for people to connect with their local community and make a difference – whether it’s helping people who have become homeless, assisting with the completion of a tax return, reading to kids, or undertaking a habitat restoration project. People can make a difference.
On a personal note, today also marks an important part of co-chairing the United Way of King County’s annual campaign with my wife Kathy Surace-Smith. When we agreed to co-chair together, we toured many of the service agencies supported by United Way and experienced first-hand, the challenges facing local community organizations. It’s one of the reasons we are both excited to take part in an event that benefits a huge cross-section of our community in a direct way.
The turnout for this year’s Day of Caring is the biggest ever and is a great testament to the leadership the United Way has shown encouraging and helping people get involved by volunteering. There’s no question that more and more people in our society feel an increased desire to connect to their community. The need is more acute in today’s struggling economy, and a volunteer’s impact is greater than ever.
Posted by John Seethoff Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
Dr. Helmut Panke joined the Microsoft board of directors in 2003, bringing his insights about international business and brand building from an illustrious career at BMW which culminated in his leading that company from 2002 to 2006. He recently sat down for an interview for another installment of our profiles on Microsoft’s Channel 9 featuring our board of directors.
In his interview, Dr. Panke discusses topics including how he came to be Chairman and CEO of BMW, his scientific background, what it’s like to be a member of the Microsoft board, and offers a behind the scenes view of how the board operates.
More information about the board of directors and corporate governance at Microsoft is available here.