White Space Databases to Go Live Next Month

WASHINGTON: The Federal Communications Commission is taking its unlicensed microphone registration system nationwide and authorizing the activation of white-space databases. The mic registration system enables qualifying major venues to register in TV white-space databases for interference protection from other unlicensed devices. The mic system was beta launched in September by the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology on the Eastern Seaboard.

In a separate Public Notice, the OET authorized the activation of white-space databases on the East Coast in states where the wireless mic registration trial took place—New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and North Carolina. This means that the two companies previously approved by the commission to administer white-space databases--Spectrum Bridge of Lake Mary, Fla., and Telcordia of Piscataway, N.J.--will be able to commence operations in those states. They have been limited to local operations in Wilmington, N.C. and Virginia, up to now.

“The next step in the process will be to authorize operation of the TV white-space database systems nationwide at the beginning of next year,” the second Notice states. “We anticipate authorizing nationwide operations of TV white-space databases by mid-January, 2013.”

Other companies conditionally approved as white space database administrators include Mountain View, Calif., search giant Google, Comsearch of Ashburn, Va.; Neustar of Sterling Va.; Key Bridge Global of McLean, Va.; KB Enterprises of Washington, D.C.; Frequency Finder of Toccoa, Ga.; and WSdB LLC, which listed no headquarters.

The databases serve as a repository of unoccupied frequencies in the 54-698 MHz TV band. (See illustration of Washington, D.C. market filtered through Telcordia's database.) Consumer unlicensed devices, once they are deployed, will have to communicate with these databases in order to operate. Licensed operations register in the databases to indicate what frequencies they occupy. These include TV stations, fixed broadcast auxiliary service links, TV translator and cable headend receive sites, land-mobile operations, offshore radio telephone service, certain radio astronomy operations, and certain wireless mic venue sites.

Unlicensed wireless mic venues must request FCC approval to register in one of the databases 30 days in advance of an event. The OET said East Coast venues now had sufficient time to “become aware of the availability of the registration system to… to accommodate the 30-day processing cycle. We therefore conclude that it is now appropriate to allow the TV white-space database systems to provide service to… devices located in that region.”

The microphone registration system is available at http://fcc.gov/uls/login.

~ Deborah D. McAdams