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Earlier this year, a group of companies, calling themselves the White Spaces Coalition, tried to get approval for wireless internet transmission in the space between the new proposed digital television channels. The Coalition revealed, on July 31st, that a working prototype had been rejected by the Federal Communications Commission. The reason given was interference caused by the device, which would cause disruption of television broadcasts.
Now the Coalition, led by Philips and Microsoft, have resubmitted the device, slightly re-engineered to remove any traces of interference. The report from Philips states that the device ‘did no harm’ and correctly identified the places where television channels were in operation, causing none of the problems observed with the first testing. A former chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology had become an advisor to the Coalition, and carefully watched over the re-testing.
The FCC will likely want to repeat the test procedures, under conditions that it controls completely, before permission is given.
No time frame for the additional testing is known at this time, but the Coalition has hopes the decision can be rendered before the end of the calendar year.
The main opposition, of the White Spaces Coalition, is not what you might think. At first, it might be thought that the cable and telephone companies would be the biggest detractors to the plan, but in fact, the National Association of Broadcasters and the Association for Maximum Service Television are the ones most vocal in opposition. The NAB believes that testing is not thorough enough, and that many conditions encountered in the actual use of these devices have not been addressed. The AMST had its inception as a result of the questions for bandwidth put forth by the Coalition, and joined with the NAB in stating that ‘devastating interference’ could be caused by these devices.
No other release from the White Spaces Coalition, apart from their noting that a decision in this calendar year was highly desired. With other members Google and Intel, the Coalition has a mountain of talent and huge monetary reserves to help push the idea toward adoption.
[tags] White Spaces Coalition, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Philips Electronics North America, FCC, NAB, AMST [/tags]