White Space: FCC Launches 'International Training Initiative'

Flooding the American TV airwaves with signals from unlicensed devices may not be quite enough.

Friday (Jan. 9), the FCC said it is starting an international outreach program in the so-called white spaces. It said the “International TV White Spaces Fellowship and Training Initiative” will let experts interact with FCC staff on the prospective devices that broadcasters fear could disrupt digital TV.

Broadcasters in Mexico and Canada already voiced their concern to their respective regulators and to the FCC about interference from the future devices.

The arrangement will include “structured educational dialogue,” a Web site, training videos and an annual conference.

FCC said it will provide remote training to interested regulators and technical experts and will also travel to meet with them to provide practical advice and expert insight. Select international counterparts will be designated “White Spaces Fellows” and will be invited to attend targeted training at FCC facilities.

"This Fellowship and Training Initiative will provide a platform for the FCC to work with international regulators and their spectrum experts on technical issues associated with the use of TV white spaces and further build on our momentum in this area,” FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement. “It is important that we continue to support ways to expand consumers access to cutting edge wireless products, while also encouraging the most efficient and innovative use of valuable spectrum, and this program will help us achieve those goals."

In a press release, the FCC touted “the extraordinary testing done and technical parameters established to protect incumbent users and provide training videos.”

The FCC launched rules, largely based on the wishes of Google, to allow unlicensed devices to operate in the unused DTV channels, at power levels and using anti-interference technologies broadcasters say could disrupt TV reception.

The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology and International Bureau will oversee the initiative.