Geo-locational Database Becomes Primary Interference Reference

Geo-locational TVBDs will have the means to communicate their latitude and longitude to designated databases tracking open and occupied TV channels. Just who will manage the databases is the subject of a separate FCC proceeding. Nine parties have filed proposals. The commission intends to select one or more companies, which will be allowed to charge user fees.

(Continued from Part I, “Order details functionality, protections and management of unlicensed TV band devices”)

The databases must comprise the locations of all full- and lower-power TV stations, broadcast auxiliary service operations, private land and commercial mobile radio services, off-shore radio telephone usage, certain cable headends and LPTV receive sites, and registered wireless mics.

Thursday’s order expanded database registration, and by extension interference protection, to TV receive sites other than just cable headends. Such sites are where broadcast TV signals are picked up and redistributed on another infrastructure. In addition to headends, satellite and other multichannel video providers, as well as translator receive sites will be allowed to register. Canadian and Mexican TV stations serving areas near U.S. borders will be included as well.

The order also added beam-tilt calculations to the protected contours of TV transmitting antennas, but denied consideration for interference with amplified indoor receiving antennas.

Fixed TVBDs will have to ping the database at least once a day. Mode II portable devices will have to do so each time they are activated or moved. Requests from broadcasters and wireless mic makers for more frequent contact were denied. However, database administrators can voluntarily develop a system to push channel availability changes to TVBDs. Mode II TVBDs can also possess the ability to download channel information outside of their given location.

Communications between TVBDs and the databases will be subject to security measures, including certification by the FCC. Transmissions will also have to be encrypted so unauthorized devices can’t pick up open spectrum information from an authorized database, or vice versa.

The commission rejected entreaties from broadcasters to designate a single database administrator to avoid disagreements and operation confusion. It stuck to its guns on selecting multiple administrators to avoid monopoly control and encourage differentiated services.

“Under this approach, some providers may choose to provide a fully panoply of services and others may choose to provide only a repository function or ‘look-up’ service,” the order said.

The commission acknowledged that one complication of designating multiple administrators “is the need to synchronize licensing and registration information between databases. However, the rules already require this, and no party has shown that it is impractical to share information between TVBDs and databases.”

A petition to establish an advisory panel of industry players to oversee database operations was denied. The commission said doing so could “potentially slow the development of the database” if panel members developed differences. The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology will select the database managing companies and oversee them.

Finally, all required database information must be available to the public.

Part III: “Nine Vie to Manage White Space Database