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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

FCC to Report Next Month on Broadband Wireless White Space Devices

The FCC report is expected to give feedback on testing of smart radio devices and their potential interference in white spaces.

An article in The Wall Street Journal reports on efforts by backers to convince the FCC to allow free unlicensed band access to the so called white space spectrum available in unused TV channels.

Firms such as Microsoft and Google are big supporters of the free option, believing it could spur the use of innovative new wireless gadgets. Microsoft, in particular, has been heavily involved in submitting units for testing to determine their potential to interfere with adjacent bands. Earlier tests did not pan out. There are also major foes to the move, most notably Verizon which has not been very supportive of the plan. Many groups believe the spectrum should be licensed.

This next report from the FCC will answer many questions with its feedback on the most recent round of device testing. Don't look for a final ruling however, before about the end of the year.

Both camps make strong arguments for and against. Broadcasters are clearly against the move, citing the potential for interference. The uncertainty generated by early testing doesn't help broadcaster's confidence. On the other side of the equation, many groups including Intel believe that using these bands, which offer great penetration capability could lead to an explosion of new Internet enabled devices and services.