FCC Report: Unlicensed Devices Meet "Proof of Concept" Threshold

Threshold was FCC's benchmark for proceeding with authorizing devices, with certain technical restraints.

In the FCC's just-released report on its testing of unlicensed mobile devices, the commission concluded that they had met the "proof of concept" threshold it said was its benchmark for proceeding with authorizing the devices under certain technical constraints.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Wednesday he was scheduling a vote Nov. 4 on an item allowing the devices to share the spectrum band used by digital TV stations and wireless microphones.

The report's conclusion came despite findings that all the devices tested had problems sensing stations operating in adjacent channels, problems that could "impact significantly the ability of the devices to reliably detect TV signals within stations’ service areas."

That is just what broadcasters are worried about, as are microphone makers who fear similar interference.

 The study also found that using the devices too close to a cable-connected TV set "direct pick-up interference was observed," a point that troubles cable operators, and that they had trouble sensing wireless microphones, which troubles sports and theater producers, as well as religious broadcasters.

Nonetheless, the report concluded that "We are satisfied that spectrum-sensing in combination with geo-location and database access techniques can be used to authorize equipment today under appropriate technical standards and that issues regarding future development and approval of any additional devices, including devices relying on sensing alone, can be addressed."

The report explains, and FCC Chairman Kevin Martin seconded, that "the tests are not intended for equipment authorization or to determine whether the devices would comply with any possible standards that the Commission might adopt."