FCC To Reveal Test Results On Unlicensed Devices


FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said the FCC would release within a week the results of tests of several remote-sensing unlicensed devices that would potentially be allowed to operate in the so-called "white spaces" between DTV channels.

The FCC has already said it plans to allow fixed devices in the band subject to testing and other safeguards to make sure the devices do not cause interference to TV reception. It has not yet decided to allow the remote-sensing unlicensed devices.

The fixed devices rely on base stations and satellites to establish that they are operating on vacant channels while the remote-sensing devices do it intuitively and on the fly. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has looked to such devices to get more efficient use out of the spectrum.

When asked by Georgia Republican Rep. Nathan Deal at an FCC oversight hearing on the Hill Tuesday to make FCC engineers available to the committees lawyers and manufacturers to explain the results, Martin said he would. 

He also said the FCC was on track to come out with rules on the devices by October.

Broadcasters are concerned that the remote-sensing devices, even if they do work, will still create interference. The interference could impede the transition to digital by interfering with DTV signals during the crucial early stages of the transition. Those devices could range from laptops to PDAs to video games.

 Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) voiced some concerns. He said during the hearing that post-9/11 TV transmission issues in the city made stations there particuarly susceptible to interference. New York is the largest TV market in the country.