Thursday, November 6, 2008

FCC Approves White Spaces Unlicensed Spectrum

Last week the FCC voted to open new unlicensed spectrum known as white space. This spectrum is currently in use by over-the-air broadcasters. Canadian broadcasters such as CBC and CTV currently use this spectrum to broadcast analog TV content across Canada. This spectrum in the U.S. will become vacant when the U.S. broadcasters move to digital TV April 2009.

Broadcasters such as NBC abd CBS are opposed to opening up the spectrum, stating that there will be interference issues with broadcasts and wireless equipment such as handheld microphones. One of the principal considerations in the white space proceeding is how to reliably determine the availability of unused frequencies in local areas.

Both Microsoft and Google stated that the interference issue could be solved by implementing a protocol that would detect if a specific channel was being used with an area." The FCC performed two rounds of testing and determined that the spectrum could be used without causing harful interference. All whitespace devices will be required to be registered at the FCC. The report is available at:

This decision will allow the marketplace to create new devices and applications. Google refers to this as "WiFI 2.0".

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
Unlicensed Whitespace spectrum will enable the deployment of low cost wireless broadband services in rural areas and eliminate the interference issues.

Industry Canada, which is responsible for managing spectrum, has not yet addressed the issue of whether access to whitespaces could be opened in Canada.

After August 31 2011, all analog TVs will require a converter box in order to receive over- the- air broadcasts using an antenna. At that time all over-the-air broadcasts will be in a digital format.

I believe that Industry Canada will follow the FCC after August 2011 and open up the whitespace spectrum in Canada. This decision will have a major impact on all Alberta rural communties.

No comments: