White space administration: Many are called, all are chosen


Before allowing unlicensed devices to access spectrum in between television stations, the so-called white spaces, device manufacturers must make sure they do not interfere with incumbents. The FCC asked for proposals to handle this function. Nine companies applied and all nine got the gig. One of them has been getting most of the ink, though – a little firm by the name of Google.

Devices intended to operate in the space must have geo-location ability and the ability to access a database of incumbents. The administrators will develop the databases necessary to make the program possible.

The FCC said nine companies applied for the job: Comsearch, Frequency Finder Inc., Google Inc., KB Enterprises LLC and LS Telcom, Key Bridge Global LLC, Neustar Inc., Spectrum Bridge Inc., Telcordia Technologies, and WSdb LLC.

The FCC decided to get all nine involved in the process.

“While the operation of multiple database administrators may present some coordination challenges,” the FCC explained, “we find it is in the public interest to have multiple parties developing business models for this new mechanism.  The value of this exercise extends beyond databases for the TV bands, as the Commission is also considering employing similar database approaches in other spectrum bands.

The FCC said the decision was conditional for each company, however, since some changes had been made in the overall order since the initial applications were filed, and in general because there are many moving parts and unknowns that may affect the ability of a company to fulfill the FCC’s needs.