Ever been stuck in a classroom with no cell service?  How about trying to find Wi-Fi on a road trip or hotel?  There is a light at the end of the tunnel — a really bright light. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved the use of free airwaves for public use. What does that mean you may ask?  It means that wireless Internet and cell service can now be broadcast over slightly lower frequencies for miles.

The lower frequencies mean longer range and better penetration of materials, such as concrete and metal, according to Digital News Report.

According to Engadget, companies like Google, Microsoft and Sprint are currently testing these frequencies to increase its ranges. Engadget also noted that the FCC is also scrapping its previous requirements for access to the airwaves, which will not only allow a larger number of companies access, but will also make it much easier to use.

What does this mean for students? It means better cell service across campus (including my dorm room, where my phone struggles to connect) and faster wireless Internet (around 15 times faster, according to Silicon Republic) not just at hot spots, but literally anywhere on campus. Anyone and everyone would appreciate that, whether or not they have an interest in technology.

Being a tech nerd, I can’t end this article without getting into the nitty-gritty stuff. Silicon Republic mentions that the frequencies between 50 MHz and 700 MHz have been opened for use, which is where old analog television used to sit. There were numerous concerns that the use of these airwaves would interfere with things like wireless microphones, TV broadcasts and other signals, but the FCC addressed this by setting aside two channels for exclusive use of microphones, Ars Technica said. The FCC will also be building an extensive database of channels and geolocation to help with categorizing and tagging frequencies to prevent interference.

I must say this is one of the best things the FCC has ever done and I eagerly await what will become of it. In a few years, I hope to be able to open my laptop and connect to the Internet on the 10-hour drive home to Phoenix, Ariz.

David Dynes is a computer engineering freshman.

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