FCC Designates White Space Database Providers

The FCC conditionally designated nine entities as TV band ("white space") device database administrators. These databases tell TV band devices what channels they can transmit on without causing interference to TV broadcast stations, wireless microphones and other authorized broadcast auxiliary services.

The FCC will be closely monitoring the database administrators. In the Order (DA 11-131) announcing the database administrators, the FCC said, "we... require each database administrator to coordinate closely with the agency to ensure competency, consistency and compliance with the rules and the database trials."

The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) will conduct mandatory workshops with database administrators to "address implementation issues..." Each database administrator will have to perform tasks to show compliance with the rules. Real world testing of database will also be needed. In addition, each database will be subject to a trial period of not less than 45 days before it is allowed to be made available for actual use by TV bands devices. During that period, interested parties will have an opportunity to verify the database is providing accurate results.

The conditional database administrators are Comsearch, Frequency Finder, Google, KB Enterprises LLC and LS Telcom, Key Bridge Global LLC, Neustar, Spectrum Bridge, Telcordia Technologies, and W5db LLC.

The designation of multiple database providers could make it more difficult for users of wireless microphones and similar devices to obtain protection if they have to submit information on devices and the times and locations where they will be used to different database providers seeking the same information in different formats. During the test phase broadcasters will have to monitor the nine conditional database coordinators to see how well they are protecting their operations and notify the FCC is they see problems.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.