Wireless Innovation Alliance, NAB trade barbs over white space devices

A coalition of high-tech companies and organizations Jan. 10 sent a letter to the head of the NAB urging him “to let FCC engineers do their jobs free of undue outside interference” as they begin their next round of prototype testing of unlicensed portable devices that one day might share TV spectrum.

The letter from the Wireless Innovation Alliance (WIA) accused David Rehr, president and CEO of the NAB, of launching a “recent public misinformation campaign” that “has confused the testing process and misled the public and policy-makers.”

The WIA, which lists among its members Microsoft, Google, Dell and HP, told Rehr it “strongly hoped” he refrains “from further politicizing a testing process that should be left to the FCC’s expert engineers.”

The same day, NAB executive VP Dennis Wharton reminded the WIA that the prototypes of unlicensed white space devices submitted for initial testing to the FCC failed. “A successful consumer transition from analog to digital television is now imperiled by a cadre of companies that have been hoisted on their own flawed technology petard,” Wharton said.

Google, Microsoft and other unlicensed white space device advocates “cannot run and hide from the fact that their own technology utterly failed FCC testing,” he said. “That is not ‘misinformation,’ but rather an inconvenient truth,” Wharton said.