Chanuka posted the story before the Economist, but it may still be worthwhile reading what the take is from the headquarters of free market thinking:
White space could be even bigger. The frequencies involved were chosen for television back in the 1950s for good reason: they travel long distances, are hardly affected by the weather, carry lots of data, and penetrate deep into the nooks and crannies of buildings. No surprise proponents have dubbed them “WiFi on steroids”.
Once the changeover from analog to digital broadcasting is complete, the television networks will no longer need the white spaces between analog channels to prevent interference from noise and other transmissions. Apart from digital broadcasts being far less vulnerable to interference, there’s now plenty of frequency-hopping technology around for detecting digital broadcasts and avoiding them.
The full treatment is here. The qualification is the same that we insisted on when WiFi came on the scene. The business model that works in countries where the network is mature and access to the backbone is available, low-cost and non-discriminatory, does not work in countries where those conditions do not exist. Divakar Goswami’s analysis of WiFi use in Indonesia clearly showed the limitations of thinking that technology alone can fix our connectivity problems. But of course that does not mean we are not for White Space. We need to free it up, and do a number of other things along with that to gain the benefits.
And, don’t forget, our mandarins are not thinking about the analog-to-digital transition; they are busy trying to strangle the private media. They have no interest is reducing scarcity; only in creating the conditions for extracting rent from it. So we have a long way to go before we get the white space.