White Space: MSTV Calls for Rigorous Approval Process

Sometimes, one side in a vote knows it's going to lose.

If the FCC is going to allow unlicensed white space devices, the Association for Maximum Service Television figured, the least it could do is subject the devices to rigorous testing beforehand.

In a Friday filing to the FCC, MSTV said the commission appeared on the verge of adopting rules that could allow unlicensed devices relying solely on spectrum sensing to be authorized for use after a round of testing within the FCC labs.

MSTV opposes that likely decision, but maintains that steps can be taken to ensure fair and reliable means of preventing interference to DTV.

Among other problems, MSTV attacked the FCC proposal that a device should be able to detect signals as low as -114 dBm, a level MSTV equates with setting a smoke detector to only be able to detect a raging fire.

“The Commission must ... begin anew to evaluate the appropriate sensing threshold for a sensing-only device,” MSTV said.

The FCC is scheduled to vote Tuesday (Election Day) on the plan described by Kevin Martin that would allow devices that avoid occupied DTV channels by using spectrum-sensing technology (but not a geolocation database), if the devices can prove their effectiveness in FCC tests.