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FCC Announces Public Testing of First Television White Spaces Database

by: Julie Knapp, Chief, FCC Office of Engineering and Technology

September 14, 2011

Julius P. Knapp

White spaces are unused spectrum between TV stations and are considered prime real estate because signals in this band travel well, making the band ideally suited for mobile wireless devices. Unlocking this valuable spectrum will open the doors for new industries to arise, create American jobs, and spurr new investment and innovation. 

The availability of spectrum for unlicensed devices has fueled a wave of innovation and new businesses based on technologies such as as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, DECT cordless phones, baby monitors, RF ID, smart utility meters, and many others.  This new unlicensed spectrum is powerful platform for innovation and in turn, experimental use, holding rich potential for further investment in the development of new technologies and services such as "Super Wi-Fi", wireless broadband networks, video devices, and machine to machine communications, among others.   

Today, the Commission is taking a critical step towards that goal by issuing a public notice announcing the start of the first trial of a TV white spaces database. The limited public testing of Spectrum Bridge’s database system is intended to allow the public to access and test the system to ensure that it correctly identifies channels that are available for unlicensed TV band devices, properly registers those facilities entitled to protection, and provides protection to authorized services and registered facilities as specified in the rules.

Commission rules require that unlicensed TV band devices contact an authorized database system to obtain a list of channels that are available for their operation (i.e., channels not occupied by authorized radio services) at their individual locations and must operate only on those channels. The trial of the Spectrum Bridge database system is scheduled to last for 45 days, ending November 2, 2011. Parties may participate in the trial by accessing Spectrum Bridge’s TV band database test facility at  http://whitespaces.spectrumbridge.com/Trial.aspx.

Read the public notice here:http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-1534A1.doc.

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