Senators Urge FCC Action on TV White Spaces


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Two Senators asked the FCC to resolve the outstanding TV White Spaces (TVWS) proceeding so the unlicensed spectrum between TV channels can be used for rural broadband. Specifically, Steve Daines (R-MT) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) call TVWS “an affordable solution for rural and tribal communities.” They characterize the unique features of the spectrum, “which is capable of traveling long distances while maintaining robust bandwidth capabilities.”

Broadcasters are concerned about possible interference to licensed station transmission from unlicensed devices. The NAB has said just because the TVWS is unlicensed does not mean it is unused by television broadcasters. Danes and Johnson asked the Commission in a letter, to finalize guidance for TVWS “that allows for the expansion of this technology while mitigating the potential for harmful interference.”

The Senators also urged the agency to finalize the database accuracy and unlicensed reconsideration proceedings for TVWS, and to adopt technical rules to provide regulatory certainty so broadband providers can invest “in expanding connectivity in rural areas.” They believe it’s important to balance the expansion of new technologies with existing networks and infrastructure.   

The NAB, meanwhile, told the Commission last month, the TVWS database is full of errors and provides incorrect information for at least 200 full-power television stations. The database identifies TV channels in use so that unlicensed devices authorized to use the white spaces between channels can avoid interfering with stations. The administrator, Nominet, recently told the agency the database is fixed and thanked NAB for its input.

But the NAB says this is not the first time Nominet has made that claim. “The Commission should not simply take Nominet’s word on this subject given the scope of the problems NAB identified,” the broadcast trade lobby said this week. The agency should review Nominet’s database to verify it’s correctly identifying available channels for TVWS operations, says the NAB.  Comments? Email us.  

November 30, 2018