(pdf) (doc) On Friday (9th), the FCC issued a document noting the errors in FCC 08-260A (”Unlicensed Operation in the TV Broadcase Bands, Additional Spectrum for Unlicensed devices below 900 MHz and in the 3 GHz Band”).
(pdf) Here’s a link to FCC 08-260 A.
(link) My earlier quicky summary.
(pdf) First the good news. Today, the FCC announced that they were starting a white space fellowship program to help regulators around the world get up to speed on the FCC’s experiences.
Washington, D.C. – Federal Communications Commission Chairman (FCC) Kevin J. Martin today announced the creation of a new International TV White Spaces Fellowship and Training Initiative. The use of TV white spaces has the potential to improve wireless broadband connectivity and inspire an ever-widening array of new Internet-based products and services for consumers. International experts and fellows will have the opportunity to interact directly with FCC staff through in-country interaction, structured educational dialogue, a dedicated interactive website, online training videos, and an annual conference.
Coupled with 802 starting up its study on white-space issues, it looks like things are falling into place for a global standard in the next few years.
(link) Now the potentially really bad news. The Obama team is looking to delay the DTV transition. Here’s the AP story, but I prefer the ranty goodness in this link.
In a letter to key lawmakers Thursday, Obama transition team co-chair John Podesta said the digital transition needs to be delayed largely because the Commerce Department has run out of money for coupons to subsidize digital TV converter boxes for consumers.
Obama officials are also concerned that the government is not doing enough to help Americans – particularly those in rural, poor or minority communities – prepare for and navigate the transition
“With coupons unavailable, support and education insufficient, and the most vulnerable Americans exposed, I urge you to consider a change to the legislatively-mandated cutoff date,” Mr. Podesta wrote.
For technical clarity (for those that don’t know): Analog TV broadcasts (54 MHz – 806 MHz) are (were?) to shut down next month. All broadcasts then switched to DTV in the bands from 54-698 MHz (channels 2-43) and that’s when white-space services (around the DTV transmissions except for channels 3,4, and 37) are (were?) supposed to start.
But if the transition gets delayed, then 1) there’s less spectrum available (as there will be both analog and digital TV signals in band), 2) individual white space device approval / fielding might also have to wait (testing was for detection of DTV and impact to DTV, not analog TV).
This would also screw up the 700 MHz auctions (Verizon and AT&T) as the bands wouldn’t have cleared and a MediaFLO deployment (Qualcomm) and some reallocated public safety spectrum.
(link) On Saturday, Martin spoke out at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics show against delaying the DRV transition:
I’m concerned about the confusion that could be created,” FCC chairman Kevin Martin said during an on-stage chat at a premier Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
“We spent a lot of time making sure everyone knows about February 17. What kind of message will that send if we are telling people that is the date and then we don’t do it?”
To answer Martin, the economics term for the kind of message being sent is “regime uncertainty.” Hopefully that’ll get cleared up shortly after the 20th (preferably in a way that keeps the Feb 17th DTV transition date).
(link) Writing for Ars Technica, Julian Simon thinks the DTV delay is being pushed at ClearWire’s behest – basically to muck up Verizon’s LTE deployments to the benefit of ClearWire’s WiMAX networks.
AT&T now supports the delay, but wants compensation. It also appears that they weren’t planning on rolling out as fast as Verizon claims they were going to.
Or all white space, all the time! But first, some non-white space links…
(link) Call for more dynamic spectrum policies. Not a lot new there for those active in the policy arena. Key graphs:
“Traditionally, spectrum policy has been all about exclusive licensing for specific service, during extended time periods. The considered opinion now is that static long-term licensing of spectrum hinders fast innovation cycles, and across the board. The fact of the matter is that new technologies tend to diffuse faster than regulations, especially in dynamic sectors like telecom. Already, the considerable strides made in digital technology, such as spread spectrum, software defined radio and mesh networks, do call into question the policy of administrative allocation of exclusive-use licenses.
With novel software, coordination amongst service providers in real time can allow umpteen secondary devices to transmit even while providing the right quality of service and non-interference for cellular customers. The bottom line is that we need proactive spectrum policy to fastforward growth of the most desired applications, as they evolve and take off.”
(link) The US Air Force is funding Finnish cognitive radio research. (I don’t know which Finns. I assume CWC @ Oulu, but I don’t see confirmation on their research page)
Officials from the Air Force, Army and Navy are now funding a Finnish research program that explores new approaches for improving telecommunications network management.
The ultimate goal is to build on this basic research and create a cognitive network that will use rational decision-making methods to improve the speed and quality of information delivered via Defense Department networks.
(link) Ars Technica has a nice overview on the current round of white space testing.
(link – pdf) The current white space test schedule. Note a sports and entertainment venues are on the schedule.
(link) There was a complaint filed with the FCC on interference from unlicensed wireless microphones. Mmmm politics. I thought I went into engineering to avoid that. (FYI, the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition is not completely new as the article implies; they also were active in the 700 MHz block – see link1 & link 2)
A group calling itself the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition (PISC) and the Media Access Project have filed a complaint with the FCC regarding the unlicensed use of wireless microphones. The Media Access Project has filed a proposed “pathway to authorisation” for existing users that would help to protect new public safety and commercial wireless services operating on UHF channels 52-60 from 17 February 2009.
Michael Marcus has much more on this.