Legislators want to put white space on hold


Two Republican senators and two democratic Representatives have expressed their concerns over allowing unlicensed devices to be introduced into the spectrum holes between television stations. FCC tests have yet to prove that such devices can operate without causing harmful interference. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said, "With the test results that were compiled, I am deeply concerned about the significant implications that could occur with respect to the DTV transition if the Commission and Congress hastily move forward with any rulemaking or legislation." Her sentiments were echoed from her colleague Susan Collins (R-ME), who added, "I urge the Commission not to take such a step until such devices have been thoroughly tested to ensure that they do not pose a risk of interference with over-the-air broadcast signals." Bart Gordon, who is in a position to bring Congressional oversight to bear on this matter, said, "As the Chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, I support the most efficient use of spectrum. However, I believe this proposal is premature until such time that it can be proven that unlicensed, personal and portable devices will not cause harmful interference to the devices already using the TV spectrum." Finally, Charles Gonzalez (D-TX) expressed concern about what disruption of the spectrum could mean to his constituency, noting, "Hispanic homes are especially sensitive to TV interference as nearly 40 percent of Hispanic households reside in multiple dwelling units, compared with the non-Hispanic U.S. average of 21.7 percent."

TVBR observation: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. It is simply mind-boggling that this topic is even being considered with — as NTIA has been at great pains to point out lately — the DTV transition is less than 500 days away. If we were white space proponents, we’d be spending our money on R&D over the next two years to develop genuinely fool-proof devices (if such a thing is possible), not on promoting the rash introduction of experimental technology that risks disrupting the most important change to spectrum usage in the history of the United States.