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FCC Announces New White Space Broadband Tests
Microsoft, Google hope this round goes better than the last one...
by Karl Bode 11:16AM Friday Jan 18 2008
The FCC has announced (pdf) that the agency will be conducting another round of "White Space" broadband testing starting January 24. A six-partner coalition (including Microsoft, Google and Dell) named the Wireless Innovation Alliance wants to use the so-called "white space" spectrum -- partially freed by the migration to digital television -- to offer un-served consumers Internet access via the airwaves.

They submitted a device for testing to the FCC last year, but tests showed the device was unable to play nice (pdf) with nearby wireless signals.
This report determined that the sample prototype White Space Devices submitted to the Commission for initial evaluation do not consistently sense or detect TV broadcast or wireless microphone signals. Our tests also found that the transmitter in the prototype device is capable of causing interference to TV broadcasting and wireless microphones. However, several features that are contemplated as possible options to minimize the interference potential of WSDs, such as dynamic power control and adjustment of power levels based on signal levels in adjacent bands, are not implemented in the prototype devices that were provided. Given these results, further testing of these devices was not deemed appropriate at this time.
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Shortly after the test, the coalition stated that their prototype malfunctioned, and that they do have a working model. Groups like the National Association of Broadcasters, likely feeling threatened by the new potential broadcast capabilities of the technology, have been very vocal opponents of the plan, insisting to anyone who'll listen that the devices will create wireless armageddon.

The Wireless Innovation Alliance last week fired back with a letter essentially urging the NAB to shut up and let the FCC do its job. A recent study (pdf) by the coalition argued that by 2009, every one of the nation's 210 TV markets will have 15 to 40 unassigned, vacant and unused channels. They insist such unused white space "could deliver Internet access to every American household for as little as $10 a month, by some estimates."

A more complete plan for the FCC's upcoming tests can be found here in pdf format.

topics flat nest 
Millersburg, OH

what about BPL

BPL emits RFI but do they care NO !
But dont screw up a stupid ball game with RFI !

West Tenness

Re: what about BPL

said by wvcaver:

BPL emits RFI but do they care NO !
But dont screw up a stupid ball game with RFI !
Are you actually worried about BPL? Is BPL ever going to take off? No of course not. I remember reading 8 years ago how in 2010 BPL would be a serious competitor to DSL and cable. Well here we are 2 years away and they are no closer to that reality than they were in 2000. Google will be offering me internet over whitespace before I see my electric company offering BPL. And who knows how long it will be before Google does that.

Tavistock NJ

$10/mo ??

They insist such unused white space "could deliver Internet access to every American household for as little as $10 a month, by some estimates."
I'd like to see the analysis the Wireless Innovation Alliance did or got elsewhere that came up with that price. It isn't in their link here: »www.newamerica.net/files/whitesp···mary.pdf



1 recommendation

Re: $10/mo ??

"For as little as $10 a month" statement is the same as "up to 10Mbps download speed." There is no guarantee that you will ever see it, but it COULD, MIGHT, MAYBE happen.

They can't prove it. Fact is, while white space use is a good idea, statements like that hurt the credibility of the initiative.


Northwood, OH

White space

The White space is there for a reason. To eliminate interference and crosstalk between the channels. If you put data in that band you will cause interference. Even with the improvements in digital. The same thing could be done by smashing the channels together and put all the "white space" at the end or beginning of the band. To help eliminate crosstalk between the TV and data bands but you still may get crosstalk in the TV band between channels especially if you live close to a transmitter. But you would have to reprogram all the digital receivers if you smashed the channels together as opposed to programming the data receivers to use separate channels within the different spaces in the tv channels.
William Ruckman

Worcester, MA

Re: White space

as the demand on the finite spectrum increases these 'white spaces' (however it is defined or found) will be used. there is a lot of research going on concerning using these 'white spaces' and WILL continue and increase as time moves forward.

RF is Good For You
Mukwonago, WI

Re: White space

It WILL continue, but that doesn't mean that it ultimately WILL happen.

Unless, of course, you're from the future, and connecting to our dimension via white space.
The goal of the broadcast engineer is to get all the meters on the transmitter to go as far to the right as possible!!

Canonsburg, PA

Damaged Device

The reason the first test failed was supposedly because of a damaged device. This unlicensed mess of using cheap white space devices anywhere will result in lots of damaged, interfering devices being used. Using white spaces to provide relatively inexpensive fixed wireless internet service in rural areas makes sense, but cheap mobile white space devices or use in metro areas does not.