FCC Designates Microsoft White-Spaces Database Manager
August 1, 2011
WASHINGTON: Microsoft came to the game late but won anyway.
The company has been designated a white-spaces database administrator by the
Federal Communications Commission.
“We find that Microsoft has shown that it has the technical expertise to
develop and operate a TV bands database,” the FCC said in its
adopted last week.
The purpose of the database is to provide a reference for the unlicensed
devices now authorized to operate between TV channels. Devices must ping a
database to make sure frequencies aren’t occupied by licensed users. A
white-space database also must maintain a registry of fixed unlicensed devices
and protected services such as full- and low-power TV transmissions, broadcast
auxiliary facilities, private land mobile and commercial radio operations.
The commission issued a call for white-space database managers in late 2009.
Nine responded, and all were conditionally designated in January of this year. Microsoft
didn’t get a dog in the race until April, then pushed the FCC to designated it,
which it did last Thursday.
Broadcast engineers went up against Microsoft’s proposal to manage a
white-space database. The tech company was on the forefront of getting access
to use the TV spectrum for free, and provided prototypes that broadcast
engineers say caused TV signal interference in tests. Engineers for the
Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum--namely, Richard Rudman and
with the FCC objecting to Microsoft because it filed for approval 15 months
after the deadline, for one thing. It missed an entire class of licensed TV
stations entitled to protection as well, the pair said, and it overstepped an
experimental license in Las Vegas during the National Association of Broadcasters
“We are not persuaded that the factors cited by EIBASS demonstrate that
Microsoft is not qualified to administer a TV bands database. With regard to
the issue of the timeliness of Microsoft’s proposal, the rules do not prohibit
additional parties from requesting designation as a TV bands database administrator
after other parties have already been designated,” the FCC said.
As for leaving out protected entities, the FCC said it did not require a
complete list in the application process. Regarding the experimental license
issue, the FCC said Microsoft followed the rules.
Along with the other nine designees, Microsoft’s database will be subject to a
trial period of at least 45 days.
Deborah D. McAdams
For more details about the nine applicants, see . . .
January 27, 2011
: “TV White Space
Database Managers Named”
“We intend to exercise strong oversight of the TV bands databases and
administrators,” the FCC order said. The commission’s Office of Engineering and
Technology will hold mandatory workshops for the designees on how to comply
with database rules. Each individual database will be subject to a 45-day trial
before it goes live--longer if the FCC finds problems.