Dingell to FCC: Consider Licensing White Spaces

House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman asks FCC to consider licensing white spaces between DTV channels.

House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) asked the Federal Communications Commission to consider licensing the so-called white spaces between digital-TV channels.

While the FCC has been considering allowing unlicensed mobile devices to use the spectrum for wireless broadband, among other things, Dingell suggested that a licensing proposal, at least for some of the spectrum, could help to mitigate the concerns of broadcasters and wireless-microphone users about interference. It could also raise some money for the treasury.

He gave a shout-out for the FCC's testing of the unlicensed devices, then added, "As the commission proceeds, it is my hope that it gives all due consideration to all proposals concerning the best use of the white spaces, including those proposals to license some or all of the spectrum available," in a letter to FCC chairman Kevin Martin.

The FCC is testing the unlicensed devices in and around Washington, D.C., including this weekend at the Washington Redskins-Buffalo Bills National Football League game Saturday night.

Sports producers are concerned that the devices could interfere with wireless microphones, while broadcasters are generally concerned that sharing the DTV spectrum with unlicensed devices could interfere with the beautiful new digital-TV signals they are delivering.