The drama continues over white-space spectrum

The drama over white-space spectrum--those airwaves that sit between broadcasters' HDTV spectrum--continues as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) claims the Federal Communications Commission's testing of a Microsoft prototype failed. It's a claim that the White Space Coalition says is untrue.

NAB, which has been a fierce opponent of the use of white spaces because of interference fears, declared earlier this month that a prototype submitted by Microsoft lost power during FCC testing. The power failure comes after another white spaces device malfunctioned in tests run by the FCC last year.

The White Space Coalition, which includes Microsoft, Philips, Dell and Google, says the NAB is mischaracterizing the issue. Ed Thomas, a tech adviser to the coalition and former chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, said the power supply of the device failed after several hours of continuous testing, and it did not interfere with televisions signals because of the power failure.

Thomas said the NAB was engaged in "rhetoric" designed to complicate the FCC's device testing. "Let this be based on science, not politics," Thomas said of the FCC's tests. "Let the facts prevail."

NAB Executive VP Dennis Wharton disagreed, saying, "The devices they've tested haven't performed the way they were expected to perform. That, in our view, constitutes a failure."

If the FCC approves the devices this year, commercial white spaces wireless devices could be available as soon as late 2009. Testing is still going on at the FCC for several more weeks.

To read more about the the white space drama:
- check out this article from IDG News Service