Google has announced a program to take unused TV spectrum whitespace, and repurpose it for use. By creating a spectrum database, Google hopes to allow third parties to use spectrum as needed, and let device manufacturers let the database know when there is unused whitespace available.
Of course, this is almost entirely reliant on variables, but it’s a great way to make use of what’s not being taken advantage of. By allowing manufacturers like Adaptrum to report when it notices unused spectrum, and creating an API for developers to then access the database and allow for users to access the unused spectrum, a shifting network of sorts is created.
This can be useful for creating makeshift networks. Adaptrum, for instance, is using the wasted whitespace to create a public WiFi network on the campus at West Virginia University. Google thinks the cohesive use of the database, and watching developers use it to create networks, can help with spectrum concerns in rural areas.
If you’re concerned this will somehow be shut down by governing bodies, it’s unlikely. Google has FCC clearance to use the database, and their blessing to populate it as described. Google didn’t note how much whitespace was unused on average, or whether it would be enough to create a powerful, sustainable network of any kind, but it’s an important step in the right direction.