Europe's first TV white space licensee to use Fairspectrum's database

In TV white space news this week, Fairspectrum unveiled a TV white space (TVWS) database for Europe's first geolocation radio license, while Spectrum Bridge introduced a service to help device manufacturers win FCC approval for their TVWS radios.

Helsinki-based startup Fairspectrum said its TVWS geolocation database will support a test radio license for cognitive radio devices issued by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (Ficora) to Turku University of Applied Sciences.

The one-year license, which is the first one in Europe to allow for the geolocation database control of frequencies, covers the 470-790 MHz frequency range in a 24 square-mile (40 square-kilometer) area surrounding Turku, Finland. Fairspectrum said the license will be used in the WISE white-space testing project, which is run by a consortium that includes Fairspectrum as well as Nokia, Digita, Ficora, Turku University of Applied Sciences, University of Turku and Aalto University.

Meanwhile, Spectrum Bridge announced a new Partner Certification Program, which provides a comprehensive process to help original equipment manufacturers achieve FCC certification for their TVWS devices.

"FCC requirements for TVWS are much more involved than prior Part 15 rules about how radios are allowed to access spectrum, complicating the certification process. This is because a TVWS radio typically operates over a wide frequency range and must avoid interference with incumbent users of the spectrum, e.g. TV broadcasts or churches and schools that use wireless microphones," said Spectrum Bridge. In addition, OEMs must comply with TVWS database rules.

The company's certification program provides a TVWS compliance API, including a complete SDK to enable rapid development and compliance with FCC rules defining TV Band Device (TVBD) behavior; test methods and certification procedures; FCC Part 15 certification support; and a pre-certification audit to ensure compliance with 47 CFR Part 15.

White-space spectrum sits between TV channels and is open for use with unlicensed TVBDs. Depending upon world region, the preferred spectrum generally falls somewhere in the 450-800 MHz range. In the United States, TV bands consist of six-megahertz channels primarily in the 470-698 MHz UHF band.

Concepts such as cognitive radio and frequency databases being used in TVWS are being eyed for adaption to other frequencies in an effort encourage spectrum sharing. In July, the President's Council of Advisors on Policy and Technology announced it wants to see the new norm for U.S. spectrum use to be based on sharing rather than exclusive licensing. Among other things, PCAST suggested that the TVWS database approach to shared spectrum "holds immediate promise for opening the underutilized 3550-3650 MHz band for unlicensed devices."

Many wireless industry players and pundits, including AT&T (NYSE:T) and trade group CTIA, have raised concerns regarding what they see as numerous drawbacks to the approach advocated by PCAST. Nonetheless, the FCC earlier this month granted permission to T-Mobile USA to test the concept of sharing spectrum between federal and commercial users in the 1755-1780 MHz band as part of a larger government effort to use spectrum sharing to help satisfy mobile broadband demand.

A recent report by research firm Current Analysis concludes spectrum sharing will be an inevitable part of the U.S. government's spectrum policy going forward. "Database technology paves the way to ways to manage spectrum on a more granular level, based on combinations of location, frequency, time, and device type," said Lynnette Luna, senior analyst, mobile ecosystem, for Current Analysis. "Interference, QoS, and priority access--factors important for spectrum sharing between commercial and government users--can eventually be managed with a database."

For more:
- see this Fairspectrum release
- see this Spectrum Bridge release

Related articles:
FCC allows T-Mobile to test spectrum sharing in 1755-1780 MHz band
AT&T shreds PCAST's shared spectrum vision
TV white space key to AIR.U rural ambitions
Spectrum Bridge, Carlson Wireless pitch TV white space benefits
Is white space the next frontier for mobile operators?
TV white space offers a blank slate for innovation