FCC Moves to Resolve TV White Space Differences

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The FCC resolved several petitions for reconsideration related to its TV White Spaces proceeding and signaled it’s getting ready to allow more wireless devices to use the unlicensed space between television channels. Microsoft has been a driving force behind opening up the television white spaces, one of the technologies the tech firm is employing to bring broadband to rural areas, Inside Towers reported.

At the same time, the NAB tells the FCC, talks have been productive between the broadcast lobby and Microsoft on the issue.

In a Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration released Wednesday, the Commission finalized its reconsideration and database accuracy proceedings to allow carriers to invest in rural broadband, according to Broadcasting and Cable. The FCC is allowing the use of TV White Spaces (TVWS) devices, including computers, in unlicensed channels, Channel 37, and guard bands between broadcast and wireless spectrum, and between uplink and downlink spectrum in the 600 MHz band. All the devices would share the spectrum after an incentive auction.

Much like the C-band proceeding, the TVWS proceeding is part of the agency’s push to free as much spectrum as possible for wireless use. The issue pits Microsoft, Google and other computer companies against broadcasters. The former say remote sensing technology can detect and protect TV channels in real-time. The NAB, however, has said the technology is unproven and could cause interference.

Thursday, the NAB said in a filing to the FCC the four things they agree on are:

  • Permitting higher radiated power limits in less congested areas,
  • Permitting fixed TVWS device operations at up to 500 meters HAAT under certain conditions,
  • Permitting Geofenced fixed TVWS operations and fixed TVWS operations on movable platforms within geofenced areas, and
  • Supporting the use of TVWS for narrowband IoT.

However, NAB opposes a Microsoft proposal to authorize higher power operations on first-adjacent channels to broadcasters. “This proposal is technically unsound and relies on unsupportable assumptions,” writes NAB Associate General Counsel Patrick McFadden. The concept is also based on “unsubstantiated claims” that Next Gen TV receivers will be less susceptible to interference than existing receivers, he adds.

March 22, 2019

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