FCC planning to move on television white spaces


The tentative agenda for the next FCC open meeting, on the calendar for Thursday 9/23/10, includes a Second Memorandum Opinion and Order on procedures to allow unlicensed devices to begin operating in the unused frequency holes between broadcast television stations. Broadcasters have been working with the FCC to develop a workable white space policy.

Here is how the FCC describes the agenda plank: “A Second Memorandum Opinion and Order that will create opportunities for investment and innovation in advanced Wi-Fi technologies and a variety of broadband services by finalizing provisions for unlicensed wireless devices to operate in unused parts of TV spectrum.”

In a recent Wall Street Journal report, Association of Maximum Service Television head David Donovan said that his organization had been working with the FCC to develop a geo-location database that will allow unlicensed devices to begin operating while at the same time protecting both over-the-air television signals and broadcast newsgathering and live broadcast operations.

The FCC also needs to keep the use of wireless microphones in mind, used extensively in live concerts, theatrical productions and church services, among other things.

One other plank deals with E-rate broadband and two others deal with aspects of E911 service.

RBR-TVBR observation: With the FCC and many on Capitol Hill ravenous for spectrum, it will be increasingly difficult to hold back proposals such as this. We’ll be watching 9/23/10 to see if meaningful protection has been put in place for broadcasters as the white space proposal moves forward.