White space fight gets ugly

The battle over white space spectrum, those unused airwaves that sit between spectrum licensed to television broadcasters, continues to heat up. The Wireless Innovation Alliance, a newly launched alliances focusing on regulations for white space broadband services, called on the broadcast industry to end its mis-characterization of the FCC's efforts to test white space devices. The alliance, whose 15 members include Google, Microsoft, HP and Dell, said the National Association of Broadcasters has launched a public misinformation campaign surrounding the FCC's testing initiatives around white space devices.

"Upcoming testing of white space concept devices is meant to assist [Federal Communication Commission] engineers to craft the strongest possible rules while ensuring maximum public benefit. Yet instead of respecting the FCC's desire to perform concept testing, your recent public misinformation campaign has confused the testing process and misled the public and policy-makers," stated the Wireless Innovation Alliance in a letter to NAB President David Rehr.

Google, in particular, is taking issue with NAB's assertion that the FCC has tested white space devices from Google and found they interfered with TV spectrum.

"A successful consumer transition from analog to digital television is now imperiled by a cadre of companies that have been hoisted on their own flawed technology petard," Dennis Wharton, NAB executive vice president told RCR Wireless News. "Try as they might, portable unlicensed device advocates like Google and Microsoft cannot run and hide from the fact that their own technology utterly failed FCC testing. That is not 'misinformation,' but rather an inconvenient truth."

Indeed, initial tests the FCC has conducted on supposedly defective Microsoft devices found interference problems with television signals, but the commission is expected to enter a second round of testing shortly.

For more about the sparring between broadcasters and high-tech companies:
- read this article from RCR Wireless News