Divvying Up the Global Airwaves

A new deal approaches for who gets to use which frequencies
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2007 2:31 PM CST
A shop assistant shows a customer an iPhone, as seen through illuminations at Carphone Warehouse's flagship store in central London, Friday, Nov. 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Akira Suemori)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Industry and diplomats are close to hammering out a new deal for dividing up the worldwide radio spectrum. It's a crowded field, with phone companies, TV networks, and gadget-makers jostling with militaries and governments at a month-long conference. Part of the issue: a big new slice of the airwaves is about to open up, since digital TV broadcasts take up less frequency than traditional broadcasts.

"The details are being finalized," says one participant at the World Radiocommunication Conference, being held in Geneva. Reuters reports that most delegates are basically in agreement that mobile phone companies deserve a bigger slice of the spectrum, and that some frequency space should be left open in case of the development of new technologies.  But TV nets are still fighting to protect their long-controlled turf.