Challenges Posed in the FCC's Decision on White Space Access
The beginning of field testing of the white space devices by FCC, from July 14,
is by far the most important development in the field of CR in the past couple
of months. According to the testing plan released by FCC [Link],
however, it will take a couple of weeks before any official results, and
consequently FCC's decision, are announced. The first week of trial, according
to the FCC's plan, was in two very different suburban areas, i.e., Patapsco
Valley State Park and Aircraft Observation Area (BWI Airport), both in
Maryland. Apparently, Microsoft who participated in the lab test phase didn't
file its white space access device in this field test. The remaining companies
in this round of tests are Motorola Inc., Philips Electronics NV, Adaptrum Inc.
and Singapore-based research agency Institute for Infocomm Research. [Link]
An article in ars technical indicates that both white space pro and
con camp declared victory over this first round of tests [Link].
The FCC for a long time has been one of the most progressive
spectrum regulatory bodies in the world. The final decision of the FCC on white
space technologies will surely have a profound effect throughout the world. On
one hand, a powerful lobby from the entertainment industry tries to persuade
the FCC of the impracticality of white space access, citing "intrusive
interference". At stake is not only the broadcasting of TV stations, but also
wireless microphone systems commonly used in stadium concerts, Broadway
theaters, and elsewhere. We have heard a similar reaction from London's West
End theatres and other entertainment industry stake holders to UK's Ofcom. On
the other hand, as the white space coalition and other pro white space access
groups have argued for some time now, the intelligent usage of these unutilized
TV bands can result in a dramatic improvement in wireless broadband access,
which is in the interest of the public. Importantly, the FCC's decision should
put public interest at the top of it agenda.
This is indeed a challenging decision, although, we should not
forget that there is a third position, namely, the CTIA's proposal to auction
white spaces. This is perhaps not very desirable for either the pro or con
white space camps. [Link].