FCC Seeks Comment on Spectrum Bridge White Space Trial

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Communications Commission today invited feedback on the first public trial of Spectrum Bridge’s white space database. The Lake Mary, Fla. company was selected by the FCC to conduct a 45-day trial beginning Sept. 19. Its database is one of several designed for unlicensed devices operating in the TV bands. The devices--not yet commercially available--will have to ping a database to find empty frequencies.

Spectrum Bridge delivered a summary report on the trail, which concluded Nov. 2. The intent was to see if Spectrum Bridge’s platform correctly identified unoccupied channels as well as those in use by various TV stations and other FCC-protected operations. Spectrum Bridge said it had more than 1,700 unique visitors to the database, according to Google Analytics. The registration breakdown included 24 Broadcast Auxiliary Service links, 90 multichannel video programming distributors, 218 licensed low-power auxiliaries and 219 unlicensed low-power auxiliaries.

Spectrum Bridge said it used a third-party tool to track comments and received a total of 65 “unique tickets” that were provided to the FCC.

“None of the tickets was deemed to be of a critical nature so no ‘running’ changes were made to the solution during the trial,” the report said. Two planned updates were made the weeks of Oct. 3 and Oct. 17.

Facilities afforded interference protection by the FCC are registered in its Consolidated Database System, including licensed TV stations, translators and receive sites, fixed broadcast auxiliary service links, cable headends, private land-mobile radio, offshore radio telephone, certain radio astronomy and wireless microphone sites. Spectrum Bridge used that FCC data to build its platform.

Two main issues were revealed by the trial. One involved “a number of criteria associated with a CDBS record resulted in no protection when the combination should have been protected,” the report said. The other involved “usability.”

“For example, allowing multiple channels to be specified in a single registration record--where allowed,” the report said. “A full description of the changes was provided in the release notes on the trial landing page.”

Most of the comments “related to lack of knowledge or understanding of the rules and/or the processes involved,” Spectrum Bridge said.

Comments on the Spectrum Bridge trial results are due at the commission by Nov. 28, 2011, and replies are due Dec. 5, 2011. The docket number is 04-186.

~ Deborah D. McAdams, Television Broadcast