MSTV calls white space tests a failure


The effort to get FCC clearance for unlicensed devices in between television channels should be called the “Interfere with the Free Airwaves Campaign,” according the the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV). That’s because tests thus far have given no indication that the scheme is technically feasible. “Recent demonstrations at FedEx Field and in the Majestic Theater show that the two devices used in the demonstrations utterly failed to detect wireless microphones,” said MSTV’s David Donovan. “After four years of trying, the proponents cannot build a device that senses accurately.”

According to Donovan, no less than 10 local television stations were “missed” by the sensing devices being tested. “Specifically, the Philips device consistently misidentified channel use, finding channels occupied that were in fact vacant. Contrary to the ‘spin’ by proponents, such misidentification demonstrates that sensing does not work. The key to sensing is to differentiate between occupied and unoccupied channels. The Philips device utterly failed in this regard. Based on this performance, the FCC lacks the necessary information to even attempt to draft a rule that will protect consumers.”

Donovan said the “beacon” solution, which was not part of the recent test, isn’t likely to work either since it too relies on sensing ability which has yet to be demonstrated.

He concluded, “American consumers, who have invested billions of dollars in new digital television sets, deserve to have interference-free over-the-air digital television. This investment should not be undermined by a few companies simply because they want access to spectrum.”

RBR/TVBR observation: We remain stunned that they are even remotely considering this risky proposition while the most ambitious repurposing of the spectrum ever attempted, the DTV transition, is in progress. You’d think they’d wait a few years before even pretending to be concerned about creating a white space regime ruled by chaos.