FCC sets timetable for testing unlicensed device technology in DTV band

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology Sept. 11 released a schedule for testing of unlicensed devices that electronics manufacturers and computer component makers want to operate on “unused” TV channels upon the completion of the transition to DTV service.

Not only is the testing critical for evaluating potential interference to TV transmission, it also would identify possible interference on the VHF and UHF frequencies commonly used by wireless microphones in field newsgathering situations.

The schedule “provides sufficient time to develop appropriate standards” to prevent harmful interference from the unlicensed devices to the digital TV transmission, according to the FCC public notice announcing the timetable. It also gives companies “sufficient lead time” to design and produce such devices for sale by the Feb. 17, 2009, analog shutoff.

According to the public notice, the schedule sets target dates for testing milestones, including:

  • October 2006: Commission adopts a First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making;
  • March 2007: FCC Laboratory reports the results of measurements of the interference rejection capabilities of DTV receivers;
  • July 2007: FCC Laboratory reports the results of tests evaluating potential interference from unlicensed devices to TV and other radio services;
  • October 2007: Commission adopts a Second Report and Order specifying final technical requirements for unlicensed devices that operate in the TV bands;
  • December 2007: FCC Laboratory begins accepting applications for certification of unlicensed devices operating in the TV bands; certification will be granted at such time as the application has been reviewed and found to comply with the rules; certification will permit manufacture and shipment of products to distribution points;
  • February 2009: Products will be available for retail sale.

For more information, visit: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-06-1813A1.doc.