White Space Devices: A Broadcaster's Friend?

June 18, 2010

FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker addressed the TV White Spaces Summit Tuesday. In her remarks she talks about the benefits white spaces technology can provide commercial, municipal and public safety users.

"Wireless technologies offer the answer, and when deployed in the lower frequencies of the TV bands, they offer significant propagation advantages over other wireless solutions," said Baker.

While Commissioner Baker mentions the National Broadband Plan, she doesn't mention the impact that the taking away 120 MHz of the spectrum is likely to have on available channels for white space devices. Broadcasters, in filings from NAB and MSTV, have supported white space devices, as long as TV broadcasts and wireless microphones are protected. Given the importance the Commissioner gives white space devices, perhaps it would make sense to include spectrum used for white space devices as part of that 120 MHz the NBP wants for wireless broadband. One advantage is it could work around existing TV stations without the need for a repacking as described in this week's first article.

Perhaps that's what Commissioner Baker was thinking of when she remarked that as a lesson learned from the DTV transition, any reallocations are difficult. She said that spectrum sharing would be easier to accomplish.

"Dynamic spectrum access is even better, and may facilitate the deployment of different types of technologies in the same bands," said Baker. "This is something we are going to have to learn to do, and do well, in the future."

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