Friday, September 16, 2011


On Wednesday, the FCC confirmed that it will begin testing a new database that will enable gadgets to operate on white space airwaves (the frequency not currently in use by other devices), nearly a year after first ratifying its "super WiFi" initiative. The Spectrum Bridge database, as outlined last year, will map out all channels that aren't being used by radio or TV services, thereby preventing broadband devices from interfering with broadcasts. The system will be tested over a 45-day period beginning on September 19th and ending on November 2nd, in order to make sure that it correctly distinguishes available channels from those currently in use.

Cable operators and wireless mic users are invited to register with the database to test its accuracy, but this trial period could easily be extended if the Commission determines that further tests are in order. And, though there's still no indication that unlicensed broadband devices will be hitting the market anytime soon, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski seems confident that this white space spectrum could drastically change the industry. "Unleashing white spaces spectrum will enable a new wave of wireless innovation," Genachowski explained. "It has the potential to exceed the billions of dollars in economic benefit from WiFi, the last significant release of unlicensed spectrum, and drive private investment and job creation."

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