FCC approves use of white spaces

The FCC had delayed allowing technology firms to build devices that take advantage of the white spaces due to broadcasters’ concerns they would disrupt TV signals or wireless microphones. The FCC’s order preserves at least two channels for wireless mics. The broadcast industry was reserved in its response, while stakeholders praised the FCC and dismissed broadcasters’ concerns as overblown.

“[The National Association of Broadcaster]’s overriding goal in this
proceeding has been to ensure America’s continued interference-free
access to high quality news, entertainment and sports provided by free
and local television stations. We look forward to reviewing the details
of today’s ruling,” said Dennis Wharton, NAB vice president of
communications in a statement.

“Today is a good day for innovators, and a bad one for fear mongerers. Chairman Genachowski and the Commission stood up to pressure from the broadcast lobby and rejected its hyperbolic warnings that new smart radio technologies won’t protect against interference,” said Matt Wood, associate director of the advocacy group Media Access Project.

Technology firms such as Dell and Google have urged the FCC to approve use of white spaces while emphasizing that the technical details of the rules would be critical to ensuring businesses invest in the area. The move will be the first release of spectrum for unlicensed use in 25 years.

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