Deborah D. McAdams /
02.29.2012 01:48 PM
Key Bridge Launches Preliminary White Space Portal
White-space database observer requests extra protection for Ch. 37
McLEAN, VA.: Key Bridge, one of 10 companies with conditional approval to manage a white-space database, has created a preliminary geographic search application.

The Key Bridge Gazeteer is “a custom-developed online application which enables users to search our database of over 10 million geographic features and locations,” Jesse Caulfield, Keybridge president said in an email announcing the platform. “While Gazeteer is somewhat tangential to spectrum administration‑-we developed this functionality to support the white space registration process on our enterprise portal--this first application launch is an important milestone in that it builds upon the successful integration of all the other production components required for full-scale online operation.”

Caulfield said Key Bridge was “readying several more applications to launch soon.”

The Gazeteer is similar in appearance to Google Maps, though it yields a multitude of locations for general term searches. E.g., a search for “Marina del Rey” brought up 99 results, the first being the coastal community in Southern California. Mapping is elemental to creating a white-space database, which must track unoccupied radio frequency channels in the television band for use by unlicensed devices. The devices--not yet commercially available--will have to ping a database to find empty frequencies.

Just one company has received approval from the Federal Communications Commission to operate a white-space database. Spectrum Bridge of Lake Mary, Fla., became the first official database operator in December. The company has since launched the first commercial Wi-Fi-like platform in white spaces with a municipal network in New Hanover County, N.C.

The conditionally approved applicants vying to manage white-space databases must conduct a 45-day trial with their platforms, then submit the results to the FCC for public comment. A second candidate company--Telcordia Technologies of Piscataway, N.J., completed its trial Jan. 20. The comment period concluded Feb. 23, with one set of comments filed by Patrick Ward of Pie Town, N.M.

Ward said both Spectrum Bridge and Telcordia leave Very Large Array radio telescopes vulnerable to third-harmonic interference from unlicensed devices. Ch. 37 in the TV band is assigned to radio astronomy. Ward also said Pie Town is in dire need of broadband, and suggested it as a test bed for unlicensed devices with special consideration for radio astronomy. He also requested setting aside guard bands for radio astronomy.

Telcordia responded that its database complies with FCC rules, and that Ward should take his request “directly to the FCC,” rather than bringing it as a reply comment to Telcordia’s trial.

“Any request to change the rules now, in comments and replies to the Telcordia Technologies Summary Report on the 45-day public trail is procedurally deficient and amounts to an untimely request for reconsideration,” the company’s response said.
~ Deborah D. McAdams

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