Donovan Dismisses White Spaces Proposal

June 19, 2008
Combining two failed technologies do not create a successful one, said David Donovan, responding to the latest proposal to allow unlicensed devices into broadcast TV buffer channels, aka, “white spaces.”

The White Spaces Coalition, a consortium of computer and software giants, this week filed the proposal with the FCC saying they would agree to equip unlicensed devices with spectrum- and beacon-sensing capability. Spectrum sensing is supposed to seek and tune unused radio frequency channels, to prevent interference with incumbent devices such as TVs and wireless mics. The beacon-sensing bit is specifically for the protection of wireless mics, which would give off a +16 dBm signal to avert an unlicensed device.

The coalition includes Microsoft, Dell, Google, HP, Palm, Philips and TDK. The group framed its proposal as a compromise with the wireless mic contingent, led by Shure. However, the filing states that it“s “beacon compromise” is not a precise reflection of Shure“s previous proposal.

Donovan lodged his objection to the proposal.

“First, sensing does not work. It failed repeatedly in the lab. To suggest that sensing provides any form of protection for TV viewers is simply not credible,” he said in a statement. “Moreover, none of the devices submitted to the FCC sensed wireless microphones. None!”

He went on to say the coalition“s beacon proposal had already been determined ineffective by white spaces working group of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

“Having been rejected by the foremost engineering organization in the world, the coalition is now dusting off the plan and trying to sell it to the FCC,” Donovan said. “Beacons are not an effective solution for mobile newsgathering operations that rely on licensed wireless microphone technology.”

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