FCC Opens White Spaces, Economic Benefit To Exceed Billions Of Dollars

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Techtaffy Newsdesk

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Spectrum Bridge’s television white spaces database system, which may provide service to devices beginning January 26, 2012. The FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) has also approved a device by Koos Technical Services (KTS) as the first product allowed to

operate on an unlicensed basis on unused frequencies in the TV bands.  The KTS device will operate in conjunction with the Spectrum Bridge TV band database.

Julius Genachowski (chairman, FCC): Unleashing white spaces spectrum has the potential to exceed even the many billions of dollars in economic benefit from Wi-Fi, the last significant release of unlicensed spectrum, and drive private investment and job creation.

Unused spectrum between TV stations – known as “white spaces” – represents a valuable opportunity for provision of broadband data services in our changing wireless landscape.  This unused TV spectrum provides a new platform for innovation and delivery of service, with potential for both research and commercial applications.

Development of unlicensed radio transmitting devices has already led to new consumer technologies, including Wi-Fi and other innovations like digital cordless phones and in-home video distribution systems.

Commission rules require that unlicensed TV band devices contact an authorized database system to obtain a list of channels that are available for their operation (i.e., channels not occupied by authorized radio services) at their individual locations and must operate only on those channels.

The approval granted by OET allows Spectrum Bridge to commence operational service to new devices that can take advantage of the TV spectrum to provide service over greater ranges than those of Wi-Fi devices operating on higher frequencies. Initial operation under this approval will be limited to Wilmington, NC and the surrounding area and will expand nationwide pending completion and activation of the Commission’s facilities for processing requests for protection of unlicensed wireless microphone at event venues.