FCC's McDowell skeptical of Google as white space manager

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell said he is skeptical that Google should be an administrator of the FCC's white space database. He also said he is not sure whether the commission would actually vote on the national broadband plan it must present to Congress by Feb. 17.

FCC commissioner rober mcdowellIn a wide-ranging interview during a taping of a C-SPAN show, McDowell said the FCC should look to see whether there would be a conflict of interest if Google were to become one of the administrators of the database. Yesterday, Google, a longtime proponent of freeing white space spectrum for unlicensed use, asked to be an administrator of a database of geolcoation data that would be used to provide white space devices access to the spectrum.

"The administration of phone numbers, for example, has been administrated by a neutral third party, by someone without business interests," McDowell said. He added that white space spectrum--the tiny sliver of airwaves between broadcast TV stations--could be used to offset demand for more wireless spectrum, and could also help solve public policy issues such as net neutrality.

In the interview, McDowell, one of two Republicans on the five-member FCC commission, said the broadband plan, once presented, would not be "self-executing" or "legally binding," but would instead likely lead to individual policy changes within the FCC.

For more:
- see this Washington Post article

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