Hospital techies worry about white spaces

Hospital technology groups and vendors in the sector are urging the FCC to be careful on how it approaches the white space spectrum issue because opening up some of those spectrum channels could lead to interference with medical devices. The FCC has allocated channel 37 to hospital groups about a decade ago, but older systems still use some white space spectrum.

"If a new white space application that's operating thousands of times more powerfully came online, either in the hospital or outside the hospital, it could very well directly interfere with the telemetry system and prevent patient monitoring," Tim Kottak, engineering general manager for GE Healthcare's systems and wireless division, told CNET in a recent interview. While GE also owns NBC, a key player in the National Association of Broadcasters, Kottak said he speaks only for the Healthcare unit of GE.

Unlike NAB, however, the hospital tech groups are looking for a compromise: The FCC should keep a few channels off-limits and just require device operators to tell hospitals when white space devices become operational nearby.

For more on the white space debate:
- read this article from CNET