FCC Launches Spectrum Bridge TV-Band Database System Trial

The FCC released Public Notice DA 11-1534 on Wednesday announcing that on September 19, 2011 it will begin a 45-day public trial of Spectrum Bridge Inc.'sTV band database system. The Public Notice has details on how to participate in the trial.

The FCC encourages trial participants to test the channel availability calculator, the cable headend and auxiliary temporary receive site registration utilities, and the wireless microphone registration utility to "ensure that each of these elements of the database system is working properly and providing the interference protection required under the rules."

Although the database won't be authorizing actual white space devices during the trial, broadcasters and other wireless mic users, as well as users of TV spectrum, should test the capability of the system to protect their operations, including protection of wireless microphone operations in large areas such as golf courses.

The FCC encouraged participants "to report any inaccuracies or other issues with any aspect of the database system to Spectrum Bridge through the response facility on the trial's Website."

The FCC Notice said that Spectrum Bridge would respond "as appropriate" to any reports, offering an "explanation and notification of any responsive actions it may take, as appropriate." It further stated that during the trial period, Spectrum Bridge "may apply any corrective measures it determines are needed and will advise participants of such measures through the trial's Website."

The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) may extend the trial past Nov. 2, 2011 if results indicate more testing is needed.

At the end of the trial period Spectrum Bridge will submit a summary report to OET identifying any problems reports and their disposition, as well as descriptions of changes made to the channel availability calculator or registration systems. Interested parties will have an opportunity to submit comments on the report once it is submitted.

Other companies have received tentative designation as TV band database administrators. Once Spectrum Bridge's testing is underway, I would expect the other administrators to request similar public trials. How useful these trials will be will depend on the ability of the administrators to share database registrations between systems. However, this is not listed as one of the objectives in the Spectrum Bridge trial.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.