LikeTelevision Blog

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Free the Air Waves



Today we ran across a site called freetheairwaves.com, sponsored by google, that was trying to do something that will perhaps be impossible, but hey - it is worth a shot anyway. Why impossible? Well in case you grew up in the dark - the corporate powers that be... control the world. Yes - money does make the world go round, and it goes around with a little cha-ching as it crosses zero. Big Dog will be fed, and we will pay our little monthly stipend to keep big dog happy. In this case, the big dog is all the big ISPs, telcos and cable companies selling you internet service. And Google of course has a self interest in all this, but oh my - they are up front about it. A nice change. Thank you. The air waves in question are known as white space - which are the broadcast bands between stations on an analog TV. You know - imagine you have no cable and are using an antennae (been there, done that). In Charlotte NC, there's a channel 3, and a channel 9 for instance. And no channel between 3 and 9... just the fuzz. Google is trying to have the US Gov't free up the white space so people can get free broadband, which is especially needed in the rural places not served by big dog. Also, you get a cool video with a girl named Minnie who does her best to explain it all to us non propeller heads. So if we end up getting broadband for free - can we thank Minnie the Moocher?

The whole situation reminded me of the great Nicola Tesla, who created the little convenience that brings electricity into our homes and businesses, called alternating current, or AC if you like. Edison, which all kids think is the big cheese was a slacker compared to Tesla, who was seen as pretty whacko in his day, but over time his work has had profound effects on modern society. Anyway - Tesla sold his AC idea to Westinghouse, which beat out Edison's DC (direct current) and the modern electrical grid soon became a reality. But too bad for Tesla, the market crash decimated Westinghouse, who told Tesla they couldn't pay his royalties. And what did Nicola do? He gave us AC anyway and died nearly penniless. So next time you turn on and power up... give Mr. Tesla a nod of thanks.