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Group Asks FCC to Relax 'White Space' Rules

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) met with the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology to discuss changes to TV "white space" rules that would help wireless ISPs (WISPs) provide better service.

WISPA said distributed spectrum-sensing requirements should be eliminated, as they are unnecessary. WISPA claimed that eliminating this requirement would prevent an accidental or intentional denial of service attach against WISP networks.

WISPA also requested more flexibility in the placement of base station and consumer antennas, including allowing placement of antennas higher than 100 feet when needed. In a move that broadcasters are likely to support, WISPA asked for "Licensed-Lite" operating rules, similar to those in the 3650-3700 MHz band, that would require network operators do a frequency check before setting up a new base station and coordinate their operating frequencies with nearby network operators.

While wireless microphone users are concerned about interference from TV white space devices, and WISPs are concerned about interference to their networks from wireless microphones, WISPA proposed that two vacant TV white space channels in each area be set aside for non-exclusive used by wireless microphones so that they won't interfere with WISP operators.

"We appreciate that the FCC has approved vacant TV white space channels for WISP use," said Richard Harnish, WISPA president. "FCC approval of our proposed rule changes will allow WISPs to finally bring broadband service to millions of people who have no broadband service of any kind today."

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.