John Chapin, Scientist and consultant
MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics - TV Band Service LLC
TV whitespace refers to use of locally free television broadcast channels for data communications. It is the most prominent current example of Cognitive Radio, which is the exploitation of environmental awareness by wireless communications systems. The Federal Communications Commission issued a ruling in November 2008 allowing unlicensed TV whitespace devices. The first end-user trial of a TV whitespace system lit up in Claudville, VA in October 2009. Use of TV whitespace promises to reduce the cost and increase the coverage of several types of applications. These include broadband Internet access in underserved rural areas, and distributed sensing and control systems such as those for smart electric grids and environmental management.