Microsoft intensifies white-space lobbying efforts

Microsoft is launching an intensified lobbying effort to convince the FCC commissioners to support the proposal to allow white space spectrum (the spectrum that sits between airwaves currently licensed to TV broadcasters)  to be used for unlicensed wireless applications and devices.

Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, said in a conference call Monday morning sponsored by the Wireless Innovation Alliance that he had met with FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein earlier in the day and was planning on meeting with  FCC Chairman Kevin Martin later in the day. He also said that he and Microsoft Chairman and founder Bill Gates were going to be calling FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell to personally press Microsoft's case.

The FCC is planning on voting on the proposal at its Nov. 4 meeting. The National Association of Broadcasters, which opposes the proposal because it says there will be too much interference with TV broadcast stations, has filed an emergency request to delay the vote by asking for more time for public comment.

Mundie said that those concerns were overblown, and that both in theory and in practical testing there was no reason to suggest that there would an interference issue. Opening up white-space represents a golden opportunity for the United States, he said.

"It's a great opportunity for the U.S. to not only develop the technology but to lead in its deployment," he said.  "As broadband connectivity becomes more and more a part of everybody's daily life, you're just going to need more of it," Mundie said. "Here you could have propagation that could be much larger."

Mundie also said that his general sense was that the FCC was likely to vote to approve the use of unlicensed white-space. "I've been involved with them for quite a long time," he said referring to the FCC commissioners. "People seem to be generally favorable."

For more:
- see this article
-see this letter Mundie sent to Congressional offices

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FCC set to vote on white-space issue Nov. 4