Welcome to the White Space


The FCC will soon release a report on the feasibility of opening up unused spectrum, or white spaces, for use with wireless broadband, reports Reuters. The agency’s engineering report will share results of several years of data collection, including field tests on Broadway in New York City and at FedEx Field in Maryland.

Google, Microsoft Corp and others want the spaces for wireless devices. Broadcasters and wireless phone companies, oppose unlicensed use. The white-space airwaves could become available in February, when TV broadcasters switch from analog to more efficient digital signals.

High-tech companies “see this as a way to sell more devices and more services,” said Harold Feld, senior vice president with the Media Access Project, a consumer group that backs the idea.

The National Association of Broadcasters, which represents the big networks like Walt Disney Co’s ABC and General Electric’s NBC, fiercely opposes the idea as well as wireless microphone companies like Shure.

All sides have been waiting for an FCC engineering report.

The Wireless Innovation Alliance says the NAB “has consistently opposed every bit of new technology offering new media options to consumers. The top part of the dial — from UHF Channel 52-69 was just auctioned off by the FCC for nearly $20 billion dollars. But the bottom part of the television dial is now a largely unused resource.

In the analog television era, adjoining stations interfered with each other.

In the digital era, DTV stations with million watt DTV transmitters can be right next to each other (Channel 41, 42, 43, etc). Digital transmission cleanly separates signals on adjacent channels and allows interference-free reception.

But 100 milliwatt “white space” access points (using unused channels), can’t be designed to prevent interference to televisions, claims the NAB.

Related White Space articles on Dailywireless include; Google Launches White Space Offensive, Motorola on Whites Spaces: We’re Good, White Space Field Testing, Google Pitches White Spaces, White Spaces: Now It’s GE, CTIA: Unlicensed White Spaces Bad, 700 MHz Resurrected in White Space, White Space War Continues, White Spaces Prototype: Dead Again, Sprint and T-Mobile Support “White Space” Use and White Space Gets Hot

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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