FCC Opens Google White-Space Database for Public Trial

WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology announced that on March, 4 2013, it will commence a 45-day public trial of Google’s TV-band database system. The trial is a public test run of the system to be used by unlicensed devices to identify unoccupied TV channels in the television broadcast frequency band. All those affected are encouraged to weigh in on the trial.

Commission rules require that “unlicensed TV band devices contact an authorized database system to obtain a list of channels that are available for their operation—i.e., channels not occupied by authorized radio services—at their individual locations and must operate only on those channels. Such devices are required to provide their geographic location, by means of a secure Internet connection, to a TV band database system authorized by the Commission. The database will then return a list of the channels available for operation by a device at its reported location.”

Part of the authorization process is the 45-day trial. Telcordia of Piscataway, N.J., and Spectrum Bridge of Lake Mary, Fla., have both completed the trial phase and launched their white-space databases along the Eastern Seaboard in January.

“OET has examined the Google database system’s channel availability calculator and registration facilities and finds that these capabilities are ready for trial testing by the public,” the commission’s Public Notice said.

Parties may participate in the trial by accessing Google’s TV band database test facility at: https://www.google.org/spectrum/whitespace/. The website will provide a description of the trial, instructions for participation, details on use of the database system, access to the database’s various capabilities, and a link for providing comments and other feedback to Google.

During this trial, participants are encouraged to test: the channel-availability calculator; the MVPD receive site (cable headend and satellite receive site) registration utility the broadcast auxiliary temporary receive site registration utility the fixed TVWS device registration utility; and the wireless microphone registration utility

The trial is intended to ensure that each of these elements of the database system is working properly and providing the interference protection required under FCC rules.

Participants are encouraged to report any inaccuracies or provide comments on other issues. Google will respond, as appropriate, to such reports and comments with an explanation and notification of any responsive actions it may take. During the trial, Google may apply any corrective measures it determines are needed and will advise participants of such measures through the trial website.

Once the trial concludes, Google will provide a summary report to the OET that discloses reported problems, their fixes, changes made to the channel-availability calculator and adjustments to the registration system. OET then will set a short comment period for feedback on the report, and grant final approval once all systems are working in accordance with FCC rules.

FCC rules require that white-space database systems protect all TV station and translator signals, fixed broadcast auxiliary service links, receive sites, headends, private land-mobile and commercial mobile radio service, offshore radio telephone service, radio astronomy operations at specific sites, and low-power auxiliary service operation.

Google’s database information will extracted from FCC files, except for cable and satellite TV receive sites, licensed mic venues and those that are unlicensed but protected.

Operators of cable and satellite receive sites, wireless mics, and temporary BAS links must register to receive protection from interference by unlicensed devices. As required under the rules, Google will provide a registration capability for these facilities at: https://www.google.org/spectrum/whitespace/.Document25.

Wireless mic venues that are not licensed can request protection by registering directly with the FCC at http://www.fcc.gov/uls/login. These requests will be put out for public comment before being reviewed and granted.

Google’s trial site will have test registration capability for such venues, but the information will be deleted after the trial. Parties will need to reregister once the database is officially approved. Once approved and launched, Google’s database will communicate with those belonging to Telcordia and Spectrum Bridge, so that registration entered once are shared.

The trail will run through April 17, 2013, unless it’s extended by the OET.