[opendtv] A more intelligent way to deal with the White spaces?

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 1 Nov 2008 08:25:32 -0400

The white spaces debate continues to amuse me.

After decades of doing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING possible to keep other users out of the white spaces, broadcasters are still trying to claim that sharing this under-utilized spectrum will kill their OTA business. Not a bad argument in 1986, but laughable today, given the reality that the vast majority of American homes DO NOT use the service.

The FCC testing demonstrated that this spectrum CAN be shared. The testing was done to help determine if it is possible to design devices that are compatible with existing services that use this spectrum. Clearly the results say many things, not the least of which, is that there is still work to be done to create standards that will allow new uses without interference with existing uses. The role of the FCC in this is to fashion rules that will allow the marketplace to move forward with this process.

Let me reiterate once again: broadcasters are HURTING their cause by trying to stonewall this; they come across as arrogant obstructionists who care only about the protection of a service that has become largely irrelevant, other than as a means to collect retranmission consent payments. And while recent efforts to develop a mew mobile service are encouraging, one must ask how we got into a situation where mobile and handheld devices do not currently exist or work with the standard that broadcasters pushed for for DTV?

Why do broadcasters have any more claim to this spectrum for a "new" service than other potential users of this spectrum?

From here it looks like broadcasters would do well focus on working with the other potential users of this spectrum to develop standards that will permit spectrum sharing so that existing (and even the new mobile DTV service) can co-exist in the broadcast spectrum, with new services that will benefit the public and encourage the growth of new industries.

It is in this light that I found the following article to be appropriate and encouraging.

Bottom line - broadcasters need to stop the obstructionist tactics and work with others to develop the full potential of this spectrum.



Broadcasters Urged to Participate in White Space Standards

A broadcast engineering professional society is urging its members and other broadcast interests to get involved in the review of a draft standard for wireless devices intended for use with "white spaces" within the digital broadcast spectrum.

The IEEE Standards Working Group is developing standards for unlicensed device technology that could impact broadcasters' signals, should the FCC vote to approve the use of wireless devices in broadcast "white spaces." The IEEE's Broadcast Technology Society (BTS) has issued a call to its members to join the IEEE Standards Association and enroll in the ballot group to review and comment on a draft standard (P802.22.1), titled "Standard to enhance harmful interference protection for low power devices operating in TV Broadcast Bands."

The use of "white space" VHF and UHF broadcast spectrum for wideband data transmission is being advocated for rural and outer suburban areas. The FCC is scheduled to vote next week on a proposal to allow providers of unlicensed wireless devices to use this portion of the spectrum. Broadcasters are lobbying hard to defeat the proposal, claiming that it could threaten the future of free over-the-air broadcasting.

The standards being developed by the Working Group cover "Wireless Regional Area Networks" (WRANs), and call for such measures as spectrum sensing, a database service, geo-location and cognitive capabilities to reduce the possibility of "collisions" between broadcast signals and unlicensed devices operating within broadcast spectrum.

The proposed standard's sponsors hope that it will influence FCC rulemaking, should the commission approve the creation and operation of WRANs in television broadcast spectrum. The draft standard describes the use of a radio beacon device for providing enhanced protection to already protected devices such as wireless microphones used in the production and transmission of broadcast programs (covered in FCC Part 74) from harmful interference caused by unlicensed devices that are intended for operation on unoccupied TV channels.

Interested parties must be enrolled as members of the ballot group by Nov. 20, 2008 to participate in the balloting. To enroll,visit https://development.standards.ieee.org/my-site/open-ballot-invitations.

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