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...and you should too.

The Federal Communications Commission is about to auction off valuable wireless spectrum — it's critical that we keep enough of it open for innovation.

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WiFi is super amazing, but you might not realize why.

We use WiFi every day — to connect a laptop to the internet, to print wirelessly, or to stream video to a phone or tablet — and probably take it for granted.

OK, fine, maybe so.

So what?

WiFi is special because it's open.

Unlike other wireless technologies, WiFi allows anyone who wants to to create anything they can imagine, as long as they follow some simple technical rules.

No need to ask permission (from, say, a wireless carrier or an app store), and no need to get a special permit. Just build and go.

Think of it like a sky full of lego blocks that anyone can build with. Amazing!

This makes for all kinds of awesome.

"Open" wireless technologies (such as WiFi, Bluetooth and ZigBee) make it possible to do things like:

  • transmit broadband internet over long distances
  • control your TV with your phone
  • stream music from your phone to your car
  • gorge on video without worrying about data caps
  • control your home thermostat from miles away
  • teach your robots how to talk to one another
  • even enable mission-critical medical devices to communicate with one another in hospitals!

And believe it or not, even our phones rely on open wireless: 80% of all smartphone and tablet traffic travels over WiFi2.

This "open" environment for wireless tech has unleashed a ridiculous amount of innovation.

And amazingly...

All of this happens in one teeny, tiny, low-quality section of our wireless "real estate" (known as spectrum).

Despite that, it still adds up to big, big business. Recent studies calculate the economic contribution of the "open wireless" sector at $50-100 billion annually1 (think: millions of devices produced and sold; countless networks and connected activities).

So let's think big about what's possible.

The internet became what it is today for this same fundamental reason: it was an open platform that let anyone create and innovate without asking permission.

WiFi has shown us that the same is possible in the wireless space.

Let's keep going down that road - by opening up more spectrum for innovation.

What's next:

Right now, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering opening up more wireless spectrum for innovation.

Last week, the FCC approved open and unlicensed nationwide “whitespace” use of unoccupied television channels. However, next week it will close comments on its plan to auction off exclusive licenses for many of these channels to the highest bidder. We Heart WiFi is a demonstration of what is possible when innovators are free to use next-generation unlicensed spectrum without asking for permission from the big wireless companies.

That’s how WiFi started 15 years ago, and why we ♥ it so much.

The deadline for comments on the FCC's "TV Whitespaces" incentive auction has passed.

But: if you would like to stay up to date on the progress of this issue, or for other campaigns, please sign up below.


Privacy: Connected.io will contact you in the future re: this and other campaigns. We will not share your information with third parties.

  • We Heart WiFi "Heartspots" @ SXSW 2013

    Friday March 8th - Sunday March 10th, we demonstrated the potential of of open wireless technologies by deploying a series of "We Heart WiFi" network "heartspots" at SXSW.

    Each hotspot was powered by 100% open wireless technologies -- connected to a single gigabit fiber backbone via wireless backhaul links.

    No cables, just wireless. All using open spectrum.

    See coverage on BoingBoing and Ars Technica.

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    FAQ

    What is We Heart Wifi?

    A campaign to build support for greater use of unlicensed radio spectrum. Radio spectrum, if kept open by the FCC, could help enable "Super WiFi" and other creative new uses. Imagine a country where there is fast, reliable and open internet access for all computers and devices. We Heart Wifi and want to support the growth of it.

    What is "Super WiFi?"

    "Super WiFi" is the unofficial name for the next generation of wireless sharing technologies like WiFi. Unlike your cell phone, WiFi uses open (or 'unlicensed') spectrum available to anyone with a device approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for any use. Some years ago, the FCC opened unused television channels (called "TV whitespaces") for the next generation of "Super WiFi" technology on a limited basis. Last week, the FCC finally approved this new technology for nationwide use -- making massively improved WiFi possible. However, the spectrum needed to realize this vision is at risk.

    Why are you doing this?

    The FCC is planning to auction off -- to large telecom companies -- exclusive licenses to use spectrum occupied by old TV channels. These big wireless telecom companies have failed to demonstrate that they are using their current allocations efficiently, and have defeated Congressional calls for an objective spectrum inventory. The radio spectrum currently being considered could be used to build a more robust and cheaper open "Super WiFi" network if the rights are not sold off. We want the FCC to keep the "whitespace" spectrum open to the public so that anyone can use it and create new innovations that use it. This is what #weheartwifi is doing this weekend at SXSW, using open / shared spectrum to deliver more broadband to where it is needed. If we keep the white space policy intact and look for more opportunities to use shared spectrum as directed by the PCAST report, the result would be a massive, evolving, multi-billion dollar ecosystem of connected uses and devices by all types of entities and people including wireless carriers who are also the biggest users of Wi-Fi this weekend at SXSW, instead of a one-time payment to the treasury and profit for TV broadcaster who have been public in saying they do not want to participate.

    What can I do to help?

    Sign this petition to let the FCC know you want access to "Super WiFi" by keeping the unlicensed radio spectrum open. Help us get the word out by sending a tweet, blogging about the issue or sharing our WeHeartWifi graphics.

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    Who are you guys?

    We are Connected.io, in partnership with Union Square Ventures.

    Big thanks to our sponsor Tucows.

    Credits

    Website: built by Zander and Nick, forked from Fight for the Future.

    Icons from The Noun Project


    Wireless designed by Jessica Christine from The Noun Project

    Laptop from The Noun Project

    Unicorn designed by Andrew McKinley from The Noun Project

    Robot designed by Simon Child from The Noun Project

    Car designed by Paulo Sá Ferreira from The Noun Project

    Hospital by Saman Bemel-Benrud from The Noun Project

    Radio designed by James Fenton from The Noun Project

    Television from The Noun Project

    Light Bulb designed by Matt Brooks from The Noun Project

    Money designed by Lemon Liu from The Noun Project

    Thermostat from The Noun Project

    Phone from The Noun Project

    Heart from The Noun Project
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