FCC asks court for more time on white space rules

The FCC has requested a court delay its ruling on challenges to the agency's white space rules so the commission can review the petitions itself.

The commission has received numerous petitions to block the rules, which would allow the unlicensed use of wireless devices in the white spaces--the unused slivers of spectrum in the 700 MHz band between spectrum used by broadcast TV stations. The Association for Maximum Service Television and the National Association of Broadcasters filed a petition in the federal court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit in an effort to strike down the rules. Broadcasters and entertainers fear that the devices will cause too much interference with TV stations and other equipment such as wireless microphones.

The FCC voted to approve the use of both unlicensed fixed band devices and portable personal devices that have both geolocation capabilities and the ability to access an FCC database of TV signals and locations of things such as stadiums, churches and entertainment venues where wireless microphones were being used and scan for possible interference issues. These database and geolocation capabilities would, in theory, prevent interference with broadcast TV stations and wireless microphones and ensure compliance with FCC rules.

The FCC did not approve devices that used spectrum-sensing technology only, but did say that these devices could be approved at a later date if they undergo additional certifications, including proof-of-performance tests.

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