Companies step up push to license white-space spectrum

As companies such as Motorola, Google and Intel lobby the FCC for access to the unlicensed white-space spectrum a number of companies and organizations are making the argument that the spectrum should be licensed. Along with the National Association of Broadcasters, which fears interference from unlicensed white-space devices, Aloha Partners, Qualcomm, CTIA and the Rural Cellular Association are making a last-minute push for licensing the spectrum. House Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) has also called on the FCC to license the spectrum.

The Brattle Group also recently released a new study, which was underwritten by Qualcomm, estimating that the U.S. Treasury could make as much as $24 billion from an auction of white-space spectrum. That figure is some $5 billion more than what was made at the 700 MHz auction.

"There is no evidence for the claim the TV white space would spur innovation in unlicensed applications," stated the Brattle Group in an FCC filing. "Although unlicensed spectrum can provide a good home for low-power, short-range systems and thus facilitate innovation in such systems, the TV white space is ‘overqualified' for such applications. Devoting TV spectrum to low-power, short-range systems is like using land in downtown Tokyo to grow rice."

The FCC is wrapping up tests of prototype devices that access unused television airwaves, called "white spaces," to see if they will interfere with television broadcasts. 

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Related stories:
Pressure mounting in white space debate
Google steps up white-space lobbying efforts with new web site

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