A Lollapalooza of White-Space Testing
Recording Academy invites FCC to test unlicensed devices at music festival in Chicago.
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/18/2008 8:41:00 AM
The Recording Academy, which administers the Grammy Awards, wants the Federal Communications Commission to come to Chicago to test so-called white-spaces devices in the field.
The commission this week began field testing of prototype mobile wireless unlicensed devices that would use the digital-TV band alongside TV stations after the switch to digital TV in February 2009. The FCC already set 10 test sites around the Washington, D.C., area and plans tests in sports and entertainment venues yet to be named.
In a letter to FCC chairman Kevin Martin this week, the academy offered up the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago Aug. 1 for testing.
Broadcasters and wireless-microphone users are concerned that the devices will cause interference to their respective broadcasts.
The academy shared that concern, saying that the FCC should move "with extreme caution" before approving any of the devices and should not do so without "robust interference protection."
The FCC commissioners have all said that they want assurances that the devices won't interfere with the DTV transition, but they have also indicated that there is a technical solution.
The FCC made a priority of advancing broadband access and more effective use of spectrum, both of which could be achieved if the devices could operate without interfering with TV broadcasts -- something broadcasters said is unlikely as things currently stand.
The National Football League offered a choice of nearby sports venues: either the Baltimore Ravens’ stadium or the Washington Redskins’ ballpark.
"We've received many invitations," said an FCC spokesman, "and we are currently considering them."
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