FCC will field test white space devices

The FCC will begin field testing white space devices next week to see whether the devices that access unused television airwaves, called "white spaces" will interfere with television broadcasts. Companies such as Google and Microsoft want to use this unused spectrum to develop new mobile communications devices, however the initiative has raised the ire of the National Association of Broadcasters, which argues that "white space" devices may interfere with existing television broadcasts. Meanwhile, wireless carriers and the CTIA have advocated auctioning off the white space spectrum. And some carriers, such as T-Mobile and Sprint, think the spectrum should be used for backhaul.

The FCC plans to move its white space testing to residential areas and at least one sport's venue. So far many of the white space devices have malfunctioned during the tests, however Philips has a prototype that was able to detect operating television channels.

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