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Maybe Now's the Time for Licensed White Space, Aloha Partners Says

While much of the focus on white space devices has been on unlicensed devices, don’t rule out the possibility that licensed services may be given access to open channels after the DTV transition is completed. Aloha Partners, LP filed comments in the white space proceeding (ET Docket 04-186) outlining the benefits of allocating these TV channels for use by licensed rather than unlicensed devices.

In its comments, Aloha said licensed spectrum is utilized at least twice as much as unlicensed spectrum. To back up this claim, Aloha submitted results of a study comparing licensed spectrum utilization in the original cellular frequencies (806-902 MHz) versus the original unlicensed ISM frequencies (902-928 MHz). PCS licensed frequencies from 1710-1990 MHz were compared to unlicensed PC frequencies in the 2390-2560 MHz band. The study, conducted by the National Science Foundation, found that licensed spectrum was consistently used 2 to 10 times as much as unlicensed spectrum in the six locations studied. One of the six was the National Radio Astronomy observatory at Green Bank, W.Va., where none of the spectrum was used. The other locations were in Virginia near Washington D.C. and at Penn Station in New York City. While not included in the averages, spectrum utilization was also measured at the IIT Lab in Chicago.

Aloha’s comments included a page showing expected auction revenue from licensed white space use. If only co-channel stations are protected, the estimated revenue was $15 billion from Aloha Partners and $25 billion from Brattle Group. If both co-channel and adjacent channel stations, the revenue drops to $8 billion and $12 billion.

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.