Federal regulators have approved a plan to open up unused, unlicensed portions of the television airwaves known as "white spaces" to deliver...

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WASHINGTON — Federal regulators have approved a plan to open up unused, unlicensed portions of the television airwaves known as “white spaces” to deliver wireless broadband service.

Today’s vote by the Federal Communications Commission is a big victory for public interest groups and big technology companies, including Google and Microsoft. They say white spaces have the potential to bring broadband to rural America and other underserved parts of the country.

The vote is a major setback for the nation’s big TV broadcasters. They argue that the use of the fallow spectrum to deliver wireless Internet access could disrupt their over-the-air signals. Wireless microphone manufacturers and users have also raised interference concerns.