FCC Moves Forward on White Spaces
The agency begins the process of establishing databases that will tell white space devices where existing television signals exist. White space devices are expected to deliver broadband services in the interference buffer zones between TV signals.More than a year ago, the Federal Communications Commission approved rules for the unlicensed use of the "white spaces" between digital television signals. Touted as the beginning of a new age in digital communications and approved over the strenuous objections of the broadcast industry, white spaces are the interference buffer zones between television signals.
A year later, the FCC finally moved to make the November 2008 vote a reality,
approving Nov. 25 to create a database that identifies incumbent users entitled
to interference protection, including full power and low power TV stations. The
database will tell a TV band device which TV channels are vacant and can be
used at its location.
White spaces devices, which advocates belief will create new competitors in delivering broadband services, must include a geo-location capability and the capability to access the database. The database also will be used to register the locations of fixed TV band devices and protected locations and channels of incumbent services that are not currently recorded in FCC databases.
The FCC also decided to designate one or more database administrators from the private sector to create and operate TV band databases, which will be a privately owned and operated service. Database administrators may charge fees to register fixed TV band devices and temporary broadcast auxiliary fixed links and to provide lists of available channels to TV band devices.
"Selecting an administrator for the white spaces database is a crucial step toward bringing consumers another choice in a restrictive broadband marketplace," Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, said in a statement. "We expect that use of the white spaces spectrum will foster innovation and create jobs as new devices and services become available."