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Microsoft to Sit Out White Spaces Field Tests

Microsoft won“t subject its white-space prototype technology to FCC field tests, according to a report posted at MarketWatch.

The devices Microsoft has submitted to the FCC thus far either failed to prevent interference or spontaneously shut down in lab tests. The commission“s Office of Engineering and Technology announced last week that field tests would commence July 14 in and around Washington, D.C.

Microsoft has been a major driving force behind the effort to use buffer broadcast spectrum for personal radio-frequency transceivers, aka “unlicensed devices.” The spectrum, left open to prevent interference between broadcast television signals, is being targeted by a consortium of companies that say their technologies won“t mess with TV signals. Their ranks include Dell, HP, Google, Phillips, TDK and Palm, as well as Microsoft. The group is pushing to gain access to the spectrum without having to license it so they can get gear people“s hands faster.

Broadcast proponents are skeptical that white-space transmitters of any type will cause interference, and without a licensing scheme, there would be no way to pinpoint the source. Sprint Nextel, having spent around $4.5 billion on spectrum, is not amused by the prospect of other companies getting the same thing for the low, low price of nothing.