Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Clearing the Air in TV White Space

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) along with the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) released an order in January of this year to allow nine companies to conditionally serve as the TV Bands Device administrators for the idle TV spectrum known as “TV white spaces.” In doing so, the database administrators and device manufacturers need to collectively work together to certify a solution that should soon be available to consumers by year’s end. There have been numerous trials helping to establish the unlicensed spectrum as a viable means to provide broadband availability and additional applications at a greater capacity throughout the U.S.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has been a major advocate of the unlicensed spectrum bands, even labeling the TV white spaces as “Super Wi-Fi’ due to the superior benefits compared to other unlicensed spectrum such as Wi-Fi. He has stated that this is the largest release of unlicensed spectrum in 25 years and could expand high-speed internet across the country.

Recent speculation hints that Congress would prefer to repurpose spectrum for mobile broadband and the remainder to be auctioned off with the expectations of generating billions of dollars. This would leave little room for wireless technology and innovation to expand throughout the industry.

Mr. Genachowski spoke last week at the TV White Spaces Summit in Washington, D.C. and addressed some of the concerns within the industry by saying, “after incentive auctions and repacking - there is strong bi-partisan support for unlicensed spectrum, 40% of iPhone traffic is Wi-Fi, and 90% of iPad traffic is Wi-Fi. Bandwidth over Wi-Fi will exceed wired in 2015 which justifies the strong support for unlicensed and very confident that it will stay that way.”

Spectrum Bridge strongly believes that the TV white spaces are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to spectrum access and allocation not only on an unlicensed basis, but licensed as well. TV white spaces have been esteemed as one of the FCC’s highest priorities and will continue to revolutionize the wireless industry much in the same way Wi-Fi did 25 years ago. Chairman Genachowski concluded his Q&A by saying, “It is important for the country that this is a success.”

- Chris Duffus, CFO

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