TV white spaces roundup: Another database administrator, new IEEE standard and more

March has roared in like a lion as far as TV white spaces (TVWS) are concerned, with a flurry of regulatory, standardization and new pilot activities being announced.

Following the FCC's disclosure last week that its Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) would allow Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to begin a 45-day trial of its TV band database system, the commission subsequently announced it was granting the same privilege to Key Bridge Global's database system.

Key Bridge is slated to begin its trial on March 11 and wrap it up on April 24. Google's database trial, which has already begun, will end on April 17.

In addition, the OET authorized approved TVWS database systems to provide nationwide service to unlicensed TV band devices (TVBDs). The authorization specifically applies to the two approved databases operated by Telcordia (now part of Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Spectrum Bridge. Both companies have been operating their databases regionally along the East Coast. The nationwide authorization essentially means TVBDs can now be used across the nation.

TVWS spectrum sits on vacant frequencies in bands used by broadcast television. The specific bands, as noted by the FCC, include 54-72 MHz, 76-88 MHz, 174-216 MHz, 470-608 MHz and 614-698 MHz. The database systems are designed to protect authorized services by preventing TVBDs from operating on channels where they could cause interference to the authorized services as well as to unlicensed wireless microphones used by eligible venues.

Meanwhile, IEEE announced that its 802.22 working group has completed and published the recommended practice--standardized as IEEE 802.22.2-2012--for installation and deployment of wireless regional area networks (WRANs) in TVWS. Each WRAN can typically deliver 22 Mbps to 29 Mbps of data speed over a radius of 10-30 kilometers, depending upon the country of deployment, without interfering with reception of existing TV broadcast stations, said IEEE.

"Publication of the IEEE 802.22.2-2012 standard will help installation and deployment of IEEE 802.22-2011 standards-based WRANs, to bring cost-effective broadband access to rural and remote communities all over the world," said Apurva Mody, chair of the IEEE 802.22 WRAN working group.

IEEE 802.22-2011 is the first IEEE 802 standard for operation in TVWS and is also the first IEEE standard focused on broadband connectivity in rural areas where most vacant TV channels can be found. The WhiteSpace Alliance has adopted IEEE 802.22-2011 into its Wi-FAR specification.

In related news, the Philippines is preparing to trial TVWS service next quarter as part of the nation's iGovPhil project.

Louis Casambre, executive director of the Philippines' ICT-Office at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), told FutureGov that his office is working with the FCC to draft regulatory frameworks for commercial TVWS pilots.

He said the TVWS project will be managed under a public-private partnership model, which includes assistance from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and TVWS technology providers such as Neul and Adaptrum.

The Philippines is actually planning two TVWS pilot projects, one spearheaded by the government with the other managed by the private sector. Casambre said the government does not intend to compete with private companies but wants to provide an environment conducive to innovation and quick time to market.

The government pilot, which will cost $735,000, is expected to commence by the end of the second quarter after equipment arrives.

Meanwhile, Microsoft this week announced that it has launched a new website dedicated to dynamic spectrum and TVWS. The site includes information on the technology, Microsoft's TVWS pilots, its Networking Over White Spaces (KNOWS) project, policy principles and more.

For more:
- see this FCC document and this document
- see this TVTechnology article
- see this IEEE release
- see this FutureGov article
- see this Microsoft website

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