NAB Issues Preemptive Strike Against Microsoft In White Spaces Battle


The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is looking to stay one step ahead of the computer industry in the lobbying battle over what type of wireless devices will be allowed to operate in unused portions of the broadcast spectrum.

The trade association released a statement early Monday afternoon aimed at Microsoft and other computer firms that have been pushing for the FCC to allow various types of unlicensed wireless devices to operate in the so-called "white spaces" within the broadcast spectrum. NAB, spectrum watchdog Association for Maximum Service Television and sports broadcasters have all lobbied against the devices, arguing that they will interfere with digital television reception and also harm wireless mics used to cover live sporting events. A recent FCC test of prototype unlicensed devices gave them a failing grade, finding them guilty of unacceptable interference to existing signals.

In the wake of press reports that Microsoft and other computer firms will file a report with the FCC disputing the findings of the tests, NAB reiterated its position on the white spaces issue.

"The FCC performed rigorous tests on the Microsoft devices, and we are confident that its finding that these devices cause interference to television reception is accurate," said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton in a statement. "Nearly a decade ago, broadcasters and government launched the historic public-private partnership that is bringing the next generation of television to American consumers. Now that the DTV transition is near completion, up steps Microsoft and its allies to jeopardize all that has been accomplished. By continuing to press its self-serving agenda, Microsoft is playing Russian Roulette with America's access to interference free TV reception."