Cross-spectrum opposition to white space invaders


NAB’s Dennis Wharton got off a good one in Congressional daily "The Hill," which was reporting on the strange bedfellows joining in opposition to the misguided effort to allow unlicensed devices into the white spaces between television allocations. "We have got Broadway theater, God and sports on our side," remarked Wharton.

The television industry has ample reason to be concerned, since untraceable unlicensed spectrum devices will have the ability to completely disrupt a digital broadcast signal, putting the all-important DTV transition at risk at precisely the worst time imaginable. Tests of the devices have yet to show that they can operate safely.

Remote broadcasters covering news and sporting events, along with theaters, concert halls and churches, rely on wireless microphones which operate in this spectrum and which will also be at risk.

According to the Hill, over 40 legislators have written to the FCC in opposition to allowing unlicensed devices at this time. At least one, Jay Inslee (D-WA), is pushing in favor of them.

TVBR/RBR observation: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. We’re not technical experts, but if there is any doubt whatsoever, it is insane to experiment in this band with the DTV transition less than 500 days away. If the FCC wants to look at fixed, licensed services in the spectrum, fine. If it wants to let the technicians tinker away in their labs to see if they can come up with legitimately fool-proof devices that will work in an up-and-running, thoroughly debugged digital TV environment, after 2/17/09, fine. To allow them out of Pandora’s Box now is utterly irresponsible.