FCC to Conduct More White-Spaces Tests

Federal Communications Commission to Test Unlicensed Mobile Wireless Devices Again

The Federal Communications Commissiion made it official: It will conduct another round of testing on unlicensed mobile wireless devices FCC chairman Kevin Martin hopes to be able to authorize for use in the vacant channels, or so-called white spaces between digital-TV broadcast channels.

The FCC's first round of testing revealed interference issues, and its initial target of October for a decision on how to proceed had increasingly appeared unlikely to be met.

"The commission is committed to working with all parties to continue the process of investigating the potential performance capabilities of TV white-space devices in an open and transparent manner," said the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology, echoing Martin's thoughts on the subject in a recent B&C interview. "To that end, the laboratory will be conducting additional laboratory and field testing of prototype devices."

Broadcasters argued that allowing mobile unlicensed devices could interfere with DTV reception just when the government's priority should be as seamless a transition to DTV as possible. They also pointed out that the government would be hard-pressed to police such devices once they were on the market and in case they did turn out to interfere with DTV reception. 

The FCC doesn't want to waste any time conducting the new tests. It said Friday that anybody who wants a device tested should get it to OET ASAP.