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.
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.
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.
Posted by Fred HumphriesManaging Director, U.S. Government Affairs
Over the last 25 years, technology has enabled data to move from the desk drawer to the desktop, to networks, to the Web and now into the cloud. This rapid growth offers tremendous potential for efficiency, cost savings and innovations to individuals, businesses and governments alike.
For example, Microsoft’s HealthVault is helping the Cleveland Clinic to manage diabetes and heart disease by digitizing patient data, storing it online and making it easily accessible for patients and health care providers. Using at-home medical devices such as heart rate monitors and glucometers, patients can monitor their conditions and upload their data into HealthVault, which incorporates that information into the patient’s personal health record at the Cleveland Clinic. This use of HealthVault by the Cleveland Clinic shows how cloud computing can improve communication and collaboration by making data easily accessible from anywhere at any time.
Posted by Owen LinderholmDirector, Microsoft on the Issues
Back in February, we wrote about Operation b49 – the groundbreaking legal and technical efforts led by Microsoft in cooperation with academic and industry experts around the world to shut down the notorious Waledac botnet, a network of tens of thousands of computers hijacked by bot-herders to spread malware, send spam and commit other forms of cybercrime. Today, we’re pleased to announce that our legal action to permanently shut down the botnet has been successful! The Official Microsoft Blog has additional details about today’s news, and you should also check out today’s edition of USA Today.