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Om Malik explains 700 MHz in ten steps:

The spectrum, currently owned by broadcasters, has been used for analog television. But it is set to be turned over to the government in 2009. Due to its broadcast-attractive physics (like its ability to penetrate walls), this spectrum is desirable for both broadband communications in general and public-safety uses in particular.

The FCC has described the 700 MHz as beachfront property, and has talked up the broadband capabilities of this spectrum swath. About 60 MHz of the former UHF (TV) spectrum is going to be reclaimed by the U.S. government and will be reallocated for public safety and commercial broadband networks. The TV channels using this spectrum are going to go dark on Feb. 19, 2009, if all continues as planned.

This is going to be an area of active debate for months to come, and we have prepared a little cheat sheet for you to better understand the past, the present and the future of 700 MHz.

Thanks, Om. And thanks for the tip on the movie UHF!

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