NAB Kills White Space Suit

The National Association of Broadcasters has withdrawn its legal objection to the FCC’s “white spaces” proposal, reports ArsTechnica. Until now, broadcasters have been hostile, proclaiming it would interfere with adjacent television broadcasts. The NAB, controlled by large group owners, don’t pay anything to use (our) spectrum, unlike cellular operators, but they still have some clout, although less than 10% of US viewers watch programming over the air.

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The NAB sued the FCC in 2009 to stop the white spaces rollout, and the case has been working through the courts ever since. The trade group argued that white spaces technology “will have a direct adverse impact on… NAB’s members because it will allow harmful interference with reception of their broadcast signals.”

But on Thursday, the NAB filed a motion asking the courts to dismiss its own case. The organization said that the FCC addressed its concerns in a recent order, making the lawsuit unnecessary.

Cynics might say the NAB’s group owners are interested in only one thing, so how NAB members will benefit from this action is still not clear.

NAB should be congratulated for withdrawing its court challenge to the FCC’s white space order,” said the Wireless Innovation Alliance in a statement, calling the move a “major step forward.”

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White spaces radios would have a GPS receiver which reports its position back to centralized servers, which would then respond with available TV channels in the area. Other proposals would allow local spectrum sensing only, where the base station would decide by itself which channels are available. A combination of these two approaches is also envisioned. Channel Bonding uses more than one 6 MHz channel for higher speeds.

Antennas are large in the UHF TV band (compared to cellular). In addition, the television spectrum is relatively restricted (6 MHz channels vrs 20 MHz channels for WiFi). Consequently, it’s anticipated that the primary users will be in rural areas where unused TV frequencies are plentiful and ubiquitous broadband is relatively rare.

logo NAB Kills White Space SuitThe FCC first gave its approval to the concept in 2008, but the first commercial White Spaces network in the U.S. launched in January, 2012, in North Carolina. So far, the FCC has only approved one white spaces device — a 1.5-lb. rectangular-shaped radio from Florida-based KTS Wireless.

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The KTS device, used in the Hanover NC network, is a small, last-mile, transmitter. It uses the company’s frequency agile radio which received FCC approval Dec. 26, making it the first unlicensed transmitter allowed to operate in the TV band.

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John Malyar, chief architect for interconnection solutions at Telcordia, now owned by Ericsson, became the second certified white-space database administrator in March.

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Currently databases are being set up on a “market-by-market basis. When they hit a critical mass of markets, or can accommodate multiple markets, White Spaces may take off much more strongly, say industry observers.

Taxpayers currently subsidize the Universal Service Fund to the tune of $ 8.7 billion. It’s a Big Tax, Big Government program.

White Space LTE networks may enable low cost broadband. For everyone.

Related Dailywireless articles include; White Spaces: Real Deal?, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, FCC Gets Unlicensed White Spaces in Payroll Tax Bill, White Space Show Down, Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, Universal Service Reform Passed, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, White Space Legislation Goes Dark, White Space War, Bills to Kill Unlicensed White Space?, White Space Trial Completed, White Space Trialed, Huawei to Trial White Space TD-LTE, NTIA “Finds” 1.5 GHz of Federal Spectrum, UK Delays 4G Auction Ofcom: White Spaces by 2013, UK Gets Free Public WiFi, Europe’s Digital Divide Auction,

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  1. NAB 2012: Audio/Visual Wrapper

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