The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) has conditionally designated nine companies as white-space device database administrators.
Comsearch, Frequency Finder, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), KB Enterprises, LS Telecom, Key Bridge Global, Neustar, Spectrum Bridge, Telcordia and WSdb were named as database providers. Databases are necessary to determine what white-space channels to use since the spectrum consists of slivers of 700 MHz channels freed by the transition of TV channels from analog to digital. Using geolocation, the databases should detect interference with TV broadcasts and other signals and allow white-space devices to jump to free spectrum.
"While the operation of multiple database administrators may present some coordination challenges, we find it is in the public interest to have multiple parties developing business models for this new mechanism. The value of this exercise extends beyond databases for the TV bands, as the commission is also considering employing similar database approaches in other spectrum bands," the OET said in its order.
The OET also said it intends to "exercise strong oversight of the TV bands databases and administrators." All of the database providers will be required to attend workshops where the OET will show them how to comply with the database rules, identify tasks required by each administrator and establish milestone dates for reporting on the completion of identified tasks.
"Each database administrator must cooperate with any steps OET deems necessary to ensure that the TV bands databases provide accurate and consistent lists of protected services and available channels. Further, they must support capabilities that OET deems necessary to ensure that any changes in registration of protected facilities in one database are rapidly reflected in all others," the order said.
The FCC voted 5-0 in September to approve rules for white-space devices--officially kick starting the market. The most notable companies in the database list is Spectrum Bridge, which has been building out white-space networks using experimental spectrum from the FCC. The company built out a network in Claudeville, Va., a small rural community lacking broadband connectivity, to show how white spaces can bridge the "digital divide." Two years ago the city of Wilmington, Del., and the county of New Hanover, N.C., launched a white space network using an experimental license to develop what Spectrum Bridge calls the nation's first smart-city network powered by the vendor's white space database. And in September, Google and Spectrum Bridge, together with the Hocking Valley Community Hospital, announced the deployment of the first white space broadband network trial for healthcare providers in Logan, Ohio.
Next on the agenda for the FCC is certifying white-space devices. See FierceBroadbandWireless' new feature about the business case for the white-space market here.
- see the OET's order
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