NAB Asks FCC To Delay White Space Vote
In an emergency request filed late last week, the group argued that it needed more time to review a 400-page report outlining test results that was made public last Wednesday.
"In light of the complexity of the report and critical issues raised by this proceeding, the Commission should issue a public notice seeking comment," the group argued. The broadcast organization is asking the FCC to delay a vote for at least 70 days for additional comments.
FCC chair Kevin Martin has been a big proponent of the plan to open the white space spectrum, or unused TV airwaves, for wireless broadband. Internet access advocates like Free Press also support the plan, which they say will spur growth of wireless computing. Because the airwaves used for television transmit through walls and over large areas, it should be easier for companies to blanket an area with wireless broadband by using white spaces rather than the less powerful Wi-Fi spectrum.
A large portion of the radio airwave spectrum will be free in February, when TV stations stop broadcasting on analog airwaves.
Google and Microsoft back the plan, but traditional broadcasters oppose it, on the theory that using white spaces for wireless broadband could interfere with TV signals.
FCC spokesman Robert Kenny said the agency was still mulling the broadcasters' filing. "We just received their request and are reviewing it. It is, however, important to note that this proceeding has been open for several years and recently included multiple rounds of testing in the lab and field, which were open to the public and provided all interested parties with ample opportunities to comment and provide input," he said.
Last week, the FCC said the tests showed "proof of concept" that white spaces could be used for broadband as long as spectrum sensing and geo-location techniques were deployed. But the broadcasters said that tests showed that spectrum-sensing isn't reliable.