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FCC Seeks TV Band Device Database Manager Proposal

In an encouraging sign that the FCC isn't considering eliminating UHF TV broadcasting completely (see my story above), its Office of Engineering and Technology has invited proposals from entities seeking to be designated TV Band Device Database Managers [PDF].

The TVBD database manager(s) would be responsible for maintaining a database listing what TV channels are available for use by unlicensed devices in any given location.

Determining what channels are vacant requires calculating coverage area and potential interference to licensed TV broadcast stations, low-power TV stations, broadcast auxiliary point-to-point services, PLMRS/CMRS operations on channels 14-20, and the Offshore Radiotelephone Service. The locations of fixed TV band devices and protected locations and channels of incumbent services (wireless microphones, for example) that are not recorded in FCC databases will have to be registered in the TVBD database.

Prospective TVBD Database Managers must demonstrate they have sufficient technical expertise to administer a TV band database and have a viable business plan for operating a database for the five-year term established in the FCC rules. If a prospective manager relies on fees from registrations or queries, it must describe the fee collection process. It's possible that different entities could handle different parts of the TVBD database administration. In this case, the entity must describe what duties it will perform and how it will have the functions it doesn't perform handled in a secure and reliable manner by another entity.

If multiple databases are authorized, the entity must describe how data will be synchronized between multiple databases and how quickly it will be accomplished. The FCC Public Notice states, "The entity must provide diagrams showing the architecture of the database system and a detailed description of how each function operates and how each function interacts with the other functions."

Proposals need to be submitted by January 4, 2010. Comments are due Feb. 3, 2010 and replies are due by Feb. 18, 2010. The FCC will review all of the proposals, comments and reply comments before making a decision.

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.