Sunday, November 16, 2008

"White Spaces" Rules for TV Spectrum Released

On Friday (11/14/2008) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released their long-awaited and highly-debated Rules for the development and operation of so-called television band "white spaces" devices to be authorized under CFR 47 Part 15 sub-part H.

The following is excerpted from the FCC's "White Spaces" Order (FCC 08-260) on ET Docket No. 04-186 and ET Docket No. 02-380):

Introduction - Item 10. All Devices. All unlicensed TV band fixed and personal/portable TV band devices will be permitted to operate on TV channels 21-51, excluding channel 37. In addition, fixed TVBDs that only communicate with other fixed TVBDs will be permitted to operate on channels 2 and 5-20, except that they must avoid operation on channels used by private land mobile radio service (PLMRS), i.e., public safety, and commercial mobile radio service operations on channels in certain markets and areas adjacent to them. Also, in individual markets where there are Private Land Mobile Radio Service or Commercial Mobile Radio Service (PLMRS/CMRS) operations on channels 14-20, two channels in the range 21-51 will be reserved for operation by wireless microphones such that TVBDs will not be permitted on those channels. This plan for channel use is consistent with the requests of the various white space proponents and would reserve channels for a "safe harbor" for operation of wireless microphones and ensure protection of the public safety and other land mobile services that use channels 14-20. At this time, we are only permitting fixed TVBDs to operate on channels not that are not immediately next to (first adjacent on either side of) the channel of a TV station; personal portable devices will be allowed to operate on first adjacent channels to a TV station subject to the power limitation indicated above. All unlicensed TV band devices will be required to limit their out-of-band emissions in the first adjacent channel to a level 55 dB below the power level in the channel they occupy, as measured in a 100 kHz bandwidth. In addition, all TVBDs will be required to comply with a more stringent out-of-band emissions band at the edges of channels 36 and 38 that are adjacent to channel 37 in order to protect medical telemetry devices on that channel 37. Fixed devices will also be required to periodically transmit a signal with their identification when they are operating. This will facilitate identification of sources of interference. The database system for fixed stations and personal/portable devices with geo-location and database access capability will be managed by a database manager or managers selected by our Office of Engineering and Technology.

Full text of Order:

It'll be at least a year or more until any products or services are available to utilize this spectrum (none have been certificated by the FCC as yet and, you can probably count on both proponents and opponents continuing their war of words and legal challenges), so, this might be a good time to suggest that all potential "white spaces" users familiarize themselves with Appendix B of the Order which contains the Final "White Spaces" Rules and the new Part 15 Sub-Part H on Television Band Devices.