TV group's attempt to obtain TV white spaces report denied

The FCC has denied attempts by the Association of Maximum Service Television (MSTV) to look over documents related to tests the commission conducted with unlicensed devices in TV white spaces spectrum.

MSTV filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology to obtain access to information relating to a test conducted in 2008 with prototype devices. The commission's peer review committee had issued the report, and the FCC had predicated its decision to open the market to white spaces devices based on this peer report.  

"MSTV filed a FOIA request seeking the draft Phase II Measurement Report that was submitted for peer review, and ‘any additional materials to be added to the OET Report that were sent on or after Sept., 11, 2008' to named FCC employees. OET withheld the copy of the draft report submitted to peer review, and 42 e-mails it believed were ‘possibly responsive' to MSTV's FOIA request. These materials were withheld pursuant to FOIA Exemption 511 which exempts from disclosure predecisional deliberative process material," the FCC wrote in a Memorandum and Order

MSTV subsequently requested that the OET clarify whether an executive summary and its conclusions were part of the peer-review process. The OET did not give MSTV an answer, which prompted MSTV to file an application for review with the commission itself. That application was denied last week.

MSTV claims that the peer review report omitted "the most important finding in the Phase II Report--that the burden of ‘proof of concept' had not been met with respect to spectrum-sensing technology. This purported conclusion is the key to the FCC's proposal. It is simply amazing the peer review analysis would not mention this key finding." 

The FCC approved the use of unlicensed devices in the white spaces spectrum in late 2008 with the requirement that databases be used to check signal interference before transmitting in the spectrum.

For more:
- see this Gerson Lehrman Group post

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