Google promotes white space spectrum database to developers, businesses

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) TV white space spectrum database system won approval for operation from the FCC over the summer, and now the company is encouraging developers and businesses to take advantage of it and the unlicensed airwaves it catalogues.

Since the summer, Google said "early testers have provided feedback and insights on future innovations. Testers included GE Industrial Communications, which used the database to explore how it could enable new communication options for its Industrial Internet products," according to Google's Alan Norman, who is the principal for access strategy at the company. Writing in a company blog post, Norman said that helping to manage white space spectrum--vacant frequencies that sit between TV broadcast channels--is part of Google's strategy to "further encourage dynamic spectrum sharing and the wireless innovation that it supports."

"Now, we're launching a developer API for the database that enables general exploration for any user, as well as a commercial account option for device manufacturers," he wrote. "The commercial account allows equipment makers to register their devices with our database in order to operate on available TV white space."

Google said Adaptrum, a Silicon Valley-based company focused on white space spectrum, is the first device manufacturer to be certified to use its spectrum database. Adaptrum is using the tool to provide public Wi-Fi on the campus of West Virginia University.

"The white space network, which is managed by Air.U co-founder Declaration Networks, uses Adaptrum's equipment integrated with our Spectrum Database," Norman wrote. "The collaboration shows how dynamic spectrum sharing can help deliver broadband coverage and capacity to more rural areas."

White space supporters such as Google contend the unlicensed spectrum is suitable for bringing cost-effective broadband service to rural and remote areas in the United States and around the world. The FCC has authorized use of five spectrum blocks for TVWS operations: 54 to 60 MHz, TV channel 2; 76 to 88 MHz, TV channels 5 and 6; 174 to 216 MHz, TV channels 7 to 13; 470 to 608 MHz, TV channels 14 to 36; and 614 to 698 MHz, TV channels 38 to 51.

Database systems such as Google's, which provides a list of available TV white space channels, are necessary to support unlicensed radio devices transmitting in the spectrum bands used by broadcast television. In order to avoid creating interference, TV band devices must contact an authorized database system to obtain a list of channels that are available at their individual locations and operate only on those channels. 

Google is not the only corporate backer of white space. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has embarked on a global strategy to develop and promote TV white space technology as well as spread the news about the benefits of liberalized spectrum policies in conjunction with the use of dynamic spectrum-sharing technologies. Microsoft has involved itself in lots of initiatives to bring Internet connectivity to the unconnected and underserved, and has coordinated or participated in white space spectrum trials in places as diverse as Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and the United Kingdom.

For more:
- see this Google blog post
- see this Google page
- see this Engadget article
- see this The Verge article

Special Report: Microsoft mixing TV white space, spectrum policy and altruism

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