FCC: More White-Spaces-Device Testing to Begin Jan. 24

Devices Submitted by Microsoft, Motorola, Philips

As advertised, the Federal Communications Commission said it would begin a second round of testing of unlicensed mobile devices that would operate in the so-called white spaces between digital-TV channels.

Testing will begin Jan. 24 on a number of devices, including ones submitted by Microsoft, Motorola and Phillips. FCC chairman Kevin Martin had said earlier in the week that testing would begin by the end of the month.

The commission said the testing will be "open and transparent," and to that end, it was publishing a testing plan for round two.

The FCC tested similar devices last year, and the results showed interference with DTV reception and recievers. But tech companies complained that one of the devices was faulty and the commission agreed to retest.

The FCC commissioners generally agreed that there is a technological solution that will allow the devices to operate in the broadcast band without interfering with digital pictures. Broadcasters are not at all convinced, and they have lobbied hard against the devices, saying that any chance they could interfere with the  DTV transition is too big a chance to take.