Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spectrum Bridge seeks to be named TV white spaces database manager by FCC

On November 25, 2009, the FCC released a Public Notice (PN) requesting proposals from entities seeking to become authorized TV white spaces database managers.

Spectrum Bridge will be submitting the required proposal to the FCC so that it can be considered as a TV white spaces database manager.

Prior to this PN, the FCC issued the Second Report and Order on TV white spaces in November, 2008. In this report, the FCC ruled that TV white spaces frequencies ( unused TV broadcast channels located in varying amounts between about 50MHz and 700MHz) could be used on an unlicensed basis - similar to WiFi frequencies. However, TV white spaces differ from WiFi in that WiFi channels are available at the same frequencies and in same amount throughout the country. However, the amount of available TV white spaces frequencies vary significantly from location to location.

This is due to the nature of TV white spaces themselves. Essentially, TV white spaces are the leftover channels not being used by nearby TV broadcasters, wireless microphones or other protected incumbent users. Since they are considered "secondary users" TV white space devices are not allowed to cause interference with these protected "primary" users.

The FCC has determined that most devices (the exception being very low power portable radios) operating on white spaces channels will have to communicate with a TV white spaces database. The database will use location and other information send by the device to look up which white spaces channels are authorized for that device to use. The set of authorized channels gets sent back to the white spaces device. This is important since according to FCC rules, a white spaces device may not transmit on white space channels until it receives a list of approved channels from the white space database.

To see a demonstration of how this works, Spectrum Bridge created, where you can enter in an address (or set of coordinates) and our TV white spaces database will display the available channels authorized for use at that location. This search is fast and free, so check it out.

Visitors then can explore a map of their location and turn on and off the map overlays of TV broadcasters protected zones, as well as other protected zones.

The database and technology used on ShowMyWhiteSpace is the same as that is powering the world's first white spaces network deployed in Claudville, Virginia last October.

If you are interested in following the TV white spaces database manager process, there are a few dates to keep in mind:
  • Proposals from companies that wish to be designated as authorised database managers must submit them to the FCC by January 4, 2010.
  • Anyone wishing to make comments on the proposals submitted by the database manager applicants must send their comments to the FCC by February 3, 2010.
  • Replies to those comments must be received by the FCC no later than February 18, 2010.

The FCC has not indicated when it will announce its selection of database managers (there will likely be several). We expect this announcement to come sometime in the summer of 2010, although it is possible it could come earlier or later than that.

Our proposal and any follow-on responses will be posted to our site. Please check back after January 4th, and subsequent response dates, if you would like to review or download copies.

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