FCC FREES UP VACANT TV AIRWAVES FOR “SUPER WI-FI” TECHNOLOGIES
Washington, D.C. -- The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to free up vacant airwaves between TV channels -- called “white spaces” -- to unleash a host of new technologies, such as “super Wi-Fi,” and myriad other diverse applications. This is the first significant block of spectrum made available for unlicensed use in more than 20 years.
TV white space spectrum is considered prime real estate because its signals travel well, making it ideally suited for mobile wireless devices. Unlocking this valuable spectrum will open the doors for new industries to arise, create American jobs, and fuel new investment and innovation. The National Broadband Plan noted the importance of unlicensed spectrum in creating opportunities for new technologies to blossom and recommended that the Commission complete the TV white spaces proceeding as expeditiously as possible.
The Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (Second MO&O) adopted today resolves numerous legal and technical issues. Notably, the Order eliminates the requirement that TV bands devices that incorporate geo-location and database access must also include sensing technology to detect the signals of TV stations and low-power auxiliary service stations (wireless microphones). It also requires wireless microphone users who seek to register in the TV bands databases to certify that they will use all available channels from 7 through 51 prior to requesting registration. Requests to register in the database will be public, thus allowing interested parties to weigh in on any given request.
The Commission is also taking steps to ensure that incumbent services are protected from interference from the use of white spaces in various ways. In particular, today’s Order reserves two vacant UHF channels for wireless microphones and other low power auxiliary service devices in all areas of the country. It also maintains a reasonable separation distance between TV White Space device and wireless microphone usage permitted to be registered in the database
Action by the Commission September 23, 2010, by Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 10-174). Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn, and Baker. Separate Statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker.
ET Docket Nos. 03-280 and 04-186.
For further information, contact Hugh L. Van Tuyl (202-418-7506; Hugh.VanTuyl@fcc.gov), or Alan Stillwell (202-418-2470; Alan.Stillwell@fcc.gov).
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The FCC's full announcement is here.
A very helpful whitepaper concerning the implications of the decision is available here.