The U.S. Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted on Thursday to approve the unlicensed use of old TV channel frequencies, or white space. The ruling could lead to a new wireless networking standard nicknamed “Super Wi-Fi” that covers substantially larger areas compared to current Wi-Fi networks.
Along with greater coverage area, wireless networks utilizing the white space frequencies would also offer faster data transmission speeds and could pass through buildings and other obstacles far more efficiently than current Wi-Fi networks.
“TV white space spectrum is considered prime real estate because its signals travel well, making it ideally suited for mobile wireless devices,” the FCC said in a statement.
While the focus has been on Super Wi-Fi, opening the white space frequencies will lead to other uses, too. For example, the FCC included rules to manage wireless microphones. The agency also set aside two UHF frequencies for just for wireless microphones and other low power devices.
There’s no word yet on when to expect devices that take advantage of the newly opened frequencies to hit the market, but it’s a safe bet that plenty of companies are already working on products.