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FCC testing fails white spaces devices

The FCC has released test results on two prototypes of proposed portable consumer devices that were designed to show how unlicensed devices could co-exist with DTV and wireless systems by detecting and avoiding their frequencies. According to the test report, the prototype devices failed to consistently sense or detect the presence of either DTV broadcasts or wireless microphones. Testing also showed that the prototype devices interfered with digital cable TV channel reception on three DTV receivers in a typical home environment.

Shure has been a strong advocate for the production community in the regulatory debate. The company issued a statement applauding the FCC testing process: “The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology deserves tremendous credit for resisting pressure to forego a hard look at claims that the new devices won’t interfere, and for resolving the issue on sound and objective engineering analysis,” said Mark Brunner, head of public and industry relations at Shure.

The tests were conducted as the FCC prepares to issue regulations in October that will govern whether unlicensed consumer devices will be permitted to operate in the so-called white spaces between active TV channels. The new devices would use the spectrum to apply wireless connectivity and networking to future consumer products for greater mobility and communication ability than is currently available. At issue for the broadcast and production community is the continued operation of the many wireless audio devices using the disputed spectrum for many years.

“Shure has always urged policymakers to leave this issue in the hands of unbiased and independent testing experts. Unfounded promises that interference mitigation technology will work aren’t good enough. After the release of this report, the commission and Congress can see why the independent analysis was so important,” stated Sandy LaMantia, Shure president and CEO and an electrical engineer by training. “The idea that big manufacturers can dump millions of new gadgets onto the same frequencies as wireless microphones without causing devastating interference to sports, entertainment, religious, newsgathering and other live productions is simply not supported by engineering reality.”

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