White space: Dueling Democrats


Key House committee chairman John Dingell (D-MI) has queried the FCC on its study of white space usage between television channels, praising a cautious approach to opening the spectrum and asking for details on peer review. Meanwhile, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) was urging more of a pedal-to-the-metal approach.

“I am well aware that the development of appropriate rules for this spectrum could facilitate the deployment of wireless broadband devices across the country,” he said, acknowledging that the proposed unlicensed devices could be a particular boon to the spread of broadband in rural areas. But that came with a caveat, as he said, “It is equally important to me, as it should also be to the Commission, that free, over-the-air signals be adequately protected from harmful interference.” He called for careful peer review if that has not already been done, and asked several other questions.

Kerry, on the other hand, was ready to roll. “I strongly urge you to move ahead with a vote scheduled for the Commission’s November 4th meeting on the authorization of these new devices in a mobile, unlicensed manner,” he wrote. “In addition, I strongly urge the Commission to adopt technical parameters that would maximize the potentials of white space devices in bringing about the next generation of broadband services while protecting incumbent services from harmful interference.” He added that transparent tests had been passed and the FCC should launch the devices with a vote next week.

RBR/TVBR observation: Transparent? Kerry must be wearing a pair of those x-ray glasses you used to be able to get by mail in those old comic book ads. The most transparent tests in the Washington area were failures, by all accounts. If we understand this correctly, the white space devices passed proof of concept only – which as far as we know also could be said about a theoretical dilithium crystal that may someday allow Scottie to warp speed the FCC to the planet Whoopdidoo.