FCC Clears the Way for White Space Devices

White space devices will be here soon. After much debate over the impact of these devices operating on "vacant" TV channels, the requirement for geolocation and control of access to channels using databases should reduce many of the concerns about interference to broadcast TV.

The FCC is taking steps to make sure the system works as planned. The FCC approved Spectrum Bridge Inc.'s TV Bands Database System just before Christmas. The first white space devices will be limited to initial operations in Wilmington, N.C. Other database systems will have to go through a similar process for testing and approval. Spectrum availability may not be an issue in Wilmington, but I expect white space databases will show few channels available in urban markets, especially for higher-power devices.

Broadcast users of wireless microphones need to make sure their wireless microphones are licensed and their area, channels and time of operation registered at one of the FCC-approved white space database administrators.

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.