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Broadcasters petition to extend white-spaces comments

Broadcasting groups filed an emergency request at the Federal Communications Commission, effectively asking that a vote not be taken Nov. 4 to allow unlicensed devices in white spaces and that instead comments be sought on a new report by agency engineers on potential interference to digital TV reception.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin last week said he wants the commission to approve an order allowing Wi-Fi and other unlicensed devices to operate in vacant broadcast spectrum called white spaces. A device with spectrum-sensing and geo-location/database capabilities would be able to operate at a higher power level than devices that only incorporate spectrum-sensing technology. Martin said laboratory and field testing shows white spaces can be opened up to unlicensed wireless applications.
Broadcasters vehemently disagree.
“The underlying data contradict the conclusions that are made in the report, including the assertion that there has been a ‘proof of concept’ of spectrum-sensing devices. The data show that spectrum-sensing cannot be used to determine accurately whether a television channel is occupied or vacant,” stated broadcasting interests.
The filing was signed by the National Association of Broadcasters, the Association for Maximum Service Television, the ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox television networks and the Open Mobile Video Coalition.
Proponents of making fallow TV frequencies available for Wi-Fi include Google Inc., Motorola Inc., Microsoft Corp., Phillips Electronics and other high-tech companies large and small.
The mobile-phone industry and others have urged that TV white spaces be auctioned and licensed for mobile and fixed uses. The digital TV conversion is set to be completed this February.
The FCC previously freed up spectrum for Wi-Fi in the 5 GHz band through a compromise with the military requiring spectrum-sensing in wireless devices.


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