I don't give stock advice because, duh, I'm not Warren Buffett. In fact, my key financial qualifications are an ability to use Quicken and a monthly contribution to two savings funds.
But if I did have spare cash -- beyond the video arcade tokens in my junk drawer -- I'd pay careful attention to any news that placed Microsoft and Google on the same team. Because if the two of them are presenting a united front, there's gotta be gold in them there hills somewhere.
Google and Microsoft -- along with Intel, HP, Dell, Philips, Earthlink and Samsung -- are members of the White Spaces Coalition, a group dedicated to deploying high-speed wireless Internet through the untapped white space in unused analog TV frequencies. This is about to become a much bigger potential space as TV stations move to digital transmissions.
The key obstacle is the concern that using the space would interfere with regular TV transmissions. Last year, the FCC rejected the device based on a test last year. Since then the FCC has decided to retest using the frequencies for two reasons: First, one of the devices -- made by Microsoft -- was faulty; second, the FCC thought the scope was too limited and didn't really test whether these devices would cause interference with cable TV.
And let me tell you, they need to figure this out before the season premier of Lost in February.
So, starting Thursday, Jan. 24 -- in two days -- the White Spaces Coalition gets a do-over from the FCC. The tests will take about three months and then another four to six weeks before a report is issued.
An AP story published on Wired reports that if the devices are approved, you could see commercial devices that use the air space on sale sometimes after TV goes digital in Feb. 2009.
You'd think this would be a fairly neutral topic, but as it turns out, using this space for wireless communications is opposed by the National Association of Broadcasters, who are skeptical the signals won't cause interference, and in Washington, where some lawmakers worry about unlicensed personal-portable devices using the broadcast spectrum, according to this Sci-Tech Today article.