FCC to commence field testing of white-space devices

The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology announced it will begin field testing of prototype white-white space devices on Monday. The testing is part of its rule making process to determine whether these devices are capable of co-existing on an unlicensed basis with television broadcasts. Up until now, the FCC has conducted laboratory tests using prototypes.  

The issue of using unlicensed white-space spectrum has been a significant area of contention, as the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) staunchly oppose the use based on interference concerns. Heavy wireless microphone users such as the NFL and entertainers are also concerned over the idea.

"NAB has no quarrel with field tests, but based upon multiple failures of unlicensed devices in laboratory testing thus far, we remain highly skeptical that this technology will ever work as advertised," NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said in a statement regarding the FCC's next moves to field test the devices.

NAB continues to point out that the devices failed to work properly during lab testing, while white-space advocates--including Google and Microsoft--claim the malfunctions were power malfunctions and had nothing to do with whether they interfered with television signals. In fact, they say, the devices showed no interference problems, they say.

NAB and CTIA are aligned on the notion that white-space spectrum should be licensed to prevent interference.

For more:
- read the FCC's public notice

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Professional sports leagues concerned about white space spectrum. White space interference story