NAB to FCC: White Spaces Illegal

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The National Association of Broadcasters has asked a Federal court to shut down the FCC’s authorization of white space devices. No details yet on why exactly NAB thinks the decision was illegal, notes ArsTechnica.

The Wireless Innovation Act, (Govtrack) would require the FCC to permit license-free use of the unassigned broadcast spectrum between 54 MHz and 698 MHz. The legislation is designed to enable entrepreneurs to provide affordable, competitive high-speed wireless broadband services in areas that otherwise have no broadband connectivity to the Internet.

The Association for Maximum Service Television and the NAB jointly filed a petition with the federal court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit, to hold unlawful, vacate and set aside its decision allowing the devices, which broadcasters argue interferes with DTV transmissions.

The FCC said it will initially allow hybrid devices that use both geo-location and spectrum sensing, but will put numerous conditions on approval of devices that rely only on sensing technologies, including power limits, requiring extensive testing, a certification process, public comment on that process, and a separate FCC decision to approve proposed devices.

In May 2004, the Commission proposed to allow unlicensed radio transmitters to operate in the broadcast television spectrum at locations where that spectrum is not being used by television stations.

The NAB, never one to let facts get in the way, uses hundreds of Mhz of valuable spectrum — and doesn’t pay one dime for it. Television Group owners claim they provide a “public service” with murder shows and “reality television”.

The NAB’s Dennis Wharton (right), says the U.S. digital television standard, ATSC, will fall down and go boom if White Spaces are allowed to propagate. Broadcasters have a website called “Interference Zones” that talks up interference problems.

Google’s “white spaces” plan would provide (unlicensed) wireless Internet access to the entire U.S. (pdf). Google’s proposal utilizes unused television channels. Anyone could use them.

Google and other technology companies including Intel, Philips and Microsoft have pressed the FCC to open up the unused TV airwaves for unlicensed use in hopes of enabling more widespread, affordable Internet access.

Google launched an advocacy campaign, called, in an effort to promote the use of white spaces for unlicensed data, similar to Wi-Fi, but at much lower frequencies (for better in-home penetration).

According to HDTV Magazine, it’s the NAB itself, with it’s push for mobile television using their A-VSB mobile transmission system, that may be a bigger threat to HDTV reception, since it saps bandwidth from the HDTV channel. Samsung says a mobile A-VSB signal will subtract 7Mbps from a DTV channel, making HDTV less attractive.

In other news, a new study from the University of California at San Diego suggests that people who skip commercials may get less enjoyment from the television programs they watch.

The researcher hypothesized that the explanation for these results lies somewhere in the human propensity to derive greater pleasure from treats we enjoy in small chunks rather than all at once.

Related DailyWireless stories include; White Spaces: It’s The Law, TV White Spaces: New Era for Wi-Fi?, NAB: Blowblack on Whitespace, White Spaces: Green Light from FCC Report, White Space Field Testing, Welcome to the White Space, Microsoft Disputes FCC Unlicensed Finding, FCC: License-free 700MHz Devices Failed Test, Broadcasters: Portable Devices Kill DTV, Mud Fight in White Space, Pushing for “White Space”, 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, White Space Gets Hot, FCC Broadband Taskforce Recommendations, Consumers to FCC: 700MHz Democracy Now!, Broadband Wireless — Hello Goodbye, Microsoft’s “Free” Phone?, Bills Expand Unlicensed UHF Access, 700MHz Battle Begins, Cognitive Brains Self Organize, Unlicensed 700Mhz Access, Mobile/Handheld TV: Killer App?, Mobile TV War at NAB, NAB 2007: Dead Man Walking? and Unlicensed Spectrum: The Sum of All Fears.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 at 12:18 pm .

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