FCC Eliminates Spectrum Sensing for White Space Devices
WASHINGTON: The FCC today axed a requirement that white space devices
detect spectrum in use by TV stations, while reserving two channels exclusively
for wireless mics. The commission voted unanimously to adopt the final rules
governing the use of unlicensed devices in the broadcast TV spectrum.
Today’s action answered numerous petitions and requests to modify the original
rules issued two years ago, which included the spectrum-sensing requirement. The
idea was for unlicensed white space devices to automatically detect occupied
spectrum and move to unoccupied airwaves. The elimination of the sensing
requirement is a defeat for broadcast lobbyists, who fought tooth and nail to
retain it, along with another requiring unlicensed devices to access a database
to find open airwaves.
“As with most highly technical decisions, ‘the devil is in the details,’ and
those details must be explored fully,” said David Donovan in a statement.
Donovan is head of the Association for Maximum Service Television. Dennis
Wharton of the National Association of Broadcasters said the organization
“looked forward to reviewing the ruling.”
The wireless mic contingent fared better. Their number included lawmakers whose
constituents include Broadway producers, Nashville musicians and Las Vegas performers.
The order reserves two vacant UHF channels for wireless mics and other
low-power auxiliary service devices. It also “maintains a reasonable separation
distance between TV white space device and wireless microphone usage permitted
to be registered in the database.” The order requires that wireless mic users
who want to register in the database certify they’ll use all available channels
from 7 to 51 before requesting registration. Those requests will be made public
and therefore subject to comment.
“It’s clear that the FCC carefully considered the needs of wireless microphone
users while crafting this order,” said Sandy LaMantia, president and CEO of
wireless mic maker Shure. “The reserved channels will provide a safe harbor in
which musicians, small theaters, houses of worship, and businesses can operate
their wireless microphone systems without interference from new TV band devices.”
The FCC is dealing with the database in a separate proceeding. It tentatively
will be a dynamically updated record of which TV channels are occupied by whom
in each of the nation’s 210 broadcast markets. The proceeding seeks to hash out
an administrative structure for the database, be it a single entity or several.
No notification of a pending order has been issued.
-- Deborah D. McAdams
September 16, 2010: “Carlin Could Curse in
TV White Spaces”
George Carlin was before his time when it came to using foul language on
the air. The late comedian would be able to let fly on unlicensed devices in TV
September 8, 2010
: “FCC to Issue Second White Spaces Order”
will finalize provisions for unlicensed wireless devices operating in
unoccupied swaths of TV spectrum,aka white spaces.
August 18, 2010
“Broadcasters Urge FCC to Retain White Space
The two major broadcast lobbies in D.C. are
urging regulators to maintain a requirement that unlicensed devices employ
April 22, 2010
“Wireless Group Asks FCC to Relax White Space Rules”
The Wireless Internet Service Providers
Association met with the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology to discuss
changes to TV white space rules that would help wireless ISPs provide better
January 4, 2010
: “White Space Database Manager Proposals Due”
The commission first put out a call for a
database manager in late November. The database is intended to prevent
interference between emerging unlicensed devices and TV stations.