Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Other Election

In the midst of all the chaos yesterday, I almost forgot what could turn out to be the most important long-term decision besides BARACK OBAMA'S ELECTION TO THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES. It's a subtle one:

Quite literally thanks to the tireless efforts of commenter helen, the FCC voted 5-0 yesterday to commit the part of the spectrum currently used by broadcast television to mobile broadband once we switch over to all-HD in January. This is the best possible news about the future of the internet: soon enough, we will be able to access the web from anywhere we can get a television signal, which means that huge portions of the country will finally be able to do things like watch YouTube videos and stream news.

I won't go so far as to say that this would change everything in this country... but no, it's gonna change everything.


  1. that's an extremely interesting point. in addition to it just being tight as hell to possibly have wireless access as wirespread as TV airwaves are (if i understand you correctly), it's also very, very intriguing to see how those in more remote areas will be affected by this. i take for granted how easy it is to watch stuff on youtube, download podcasts and stay informed. in a lot of places, including rural Virginia where much of my family is from, the internet is not easily accessible. very cool.


  3. @dcjonesy: I'm not sure of the technical details and it seems like they'll have to overcome the problem of getting a signal from the computer to the tower, but it really is one of those things that's as cool as it sounds.

    And yeah, I can't wait to see how this changes the intellectual life of the country. No matter what the end result is, more information = better.

    @nimsofa: That, sadly, is an excellent point.

  4. Thanks for the post on this! The work is far from over, but it a HUGE step in the direction of ubiquitous broadband. Coupled with Obama stating that rural bb is one of his top priorities we may have a shot at making the basic human rights of access to knowledge and freedom of expression a reality in this country. As well as the right to freedom of assembly, as the Internet now serves that purpose as well.

  5. I should add, thanks only in part to my efforts - many groups worked on this; MDF just provided funding and some organizing/connecting of the grassroots and policy groups.