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White space

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Definitions Edit

Telecommunications Edit

White space is

[u]nused spectrum [that] represents a valuable opportunity for our changing wireless mobile landscape. Sometimes called "wi­fi on steroids," this spectrum is ripe for innovation and experimental use, holding rich potential for research and commercial purposes. The FCC is moving forward with plans to unlock this spectrum in order to maximize white spaces' value for consumers and businesses. In line with the Commission's duties regarding all spectrum-related actions, the FCC will protect existing spectrum services from possible interference as white spaces innovation grows.[1]
spectrum that is allocated for one use, but has unassigned spectrum in specific locations that can be used for other purposes without impact on the primary usage.[2]

Overview Edit

TV white space spectrum is considered prime real estate because its signals travel well, making it ideally suited for mobile wireless devices. The National Broadband Plan noted the importance of unlicensed spectrum in creating opportunities for new technologies to blossom and recommended that the Federal Communications Commission complete the TV white spaces proceeding as expeditiously as possible.

FCC activities Edit

On September 11, 2006, the FCC announced a timetable for allowing access to the spectrum so that devices could be developed that could use unlicensed spectrum without causing interference.[3] Devices using the white-space frequencies would be required to incorporate geolocation technology to signal when and where potential interference was detected. A geolocation database would be created and maintained to facilitate sharing of the white space by authorized devices. The design and operation of this database is being studied by the FCC.[4]

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and others, have protested the use of white space for consumer devices on the grounds that they could interfere with digital broadcasting and with microphones used for a variety of purposes.[5] Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, and Motorola, however, have stated the belief that solutions can be found to prevent interference.

On November 4, 2008, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order (Second Report and Order)[6] that established rules to allow new, sophisticated, unlicensed wireless devices to operate in television “white spaces.” The rules will allow for the use of unlicensed TV band devices in the unused spectrum to provide broadband data and other services for consumers and businesses.

White spaces database Edit

To prevent interference to authorized users of the TV bands, TV band devices must include a geo-location capability and the capability to access a database that identifies incumbent users entitled to interference protection, including, for example, full power and low power TV stations, broadcast auxiliary point-to-point facilities, PLMRS/CMRS operations on channels 14-20, and the Offshore Radiotelephone Service.[7]

The database will tell a TV band device which TV channels are vacant and can be used at its location.[8] The database also will be used to register the locations of fixed TV band devices and protected locations and channels of incumbent services that are not recorded in FCC databases.[9]

The Commission decided in the Second Report and Order to designate one or more database administrators from the private sector to create and operate TV band database(s), which will be a privately owned and operated service. Database administrators may charge fees to register fixed TV band devices and temporary broadcast auxiliary fixed links and to provide lists of available channels to TV band devices.[10]

References Edit

  1. Report to the President: Realizing the Full Potential of Government-held Spectrum to Spur Economic Growth, at 145.
  2. Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technology to Improve Healthcare for Americans: The Path Forward, at 11.
  3. FCC, First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, ET Docket No. 04-186, released October 18, 2006 (full-text).
  4. FCC, Public Notice, “Office of Engineering and Technology Invites Proposals from Entities Seeking to be Designated TV Band Device Database Managers,” ET Docket No. 04-186, released November 25, 2009 (full-text).
  5. In addition to filed comments with the FCC, NAB, the Association for Maximum Service Television, and a coalition of theater groups, sports leagues, and TV networks have challenged the FCC white spaces order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Requirements intended to protect microphone use in the white spaces are proposed in the Wireless Microphone Users Interference Protection Act (H.R. 4353, Representative Rush).
  6. Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order in ET Docket No. 04-186, 23 FCC Rcd 16807 (2008), reconsideration pending.
  7. See 47 C.F.R. §15.711.
  8. Id. §15.713(a)-(b).
  9. Id. (e.g., the locations of cable headends and low power TV receive sites that are outside the protected contours of the TV stations whose signals they receive; the locations where authorized wireless microphones and other low power auxiliary devices are used on a regular or scheduled basis).
  10. See id. §§15.713-15.715 for the rules pertaining to the operation of the TV band database.

See also Edit

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