FCC to Begin Testing Unlicensed Devices Again

Federal Communications Commission Trying to Determine Potential Use of ‘White Spaces’ Between DTV Broadcast Channels

Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin said Tuesday that the commission should be releasing a new testing schedule for unlicensed devices this week, with testing likely to begin by the end of the month.

That information came in a press conference with reporters.

The FCC is trying to determine how and whether to allow unlicensed portable devices -- like laptops -- to use so-called white spaces between digital-TV broadcast channels.

A first round of testing showed interference problems, but one of the devices was said to be faulty in one test and the commission agreed to allow further testing.

A number of the commissioners have expressed their support for allowing the devices so long as they do not interfere with DTV reception. Computer companies are pushing for the devices, while broadcasters argued -- with those early FCC tests as ammunition -- that the devices will interfere with those beautiful DTV pictures, and that the risk of that happening and interfering with the DTV transition is too great.

Broadcasters are not opposed to fixed unlicensed devices sharing the band.