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FCC Authorizes White Spaces Database Systems to Provide Service Nationwide (3/4/13)
The FCC authorized the approved TV white space database systems to provide service to unlicensed radio devices that operate on unused spectrum in the TV bands on a nationwide basis.

This action follows a related action in December that launched, on a nationwide basis, the commission’s online registration system for large entertainment, sports and similar venues where a significant number of unlicensed wireless microphones are used.

That registration system allows qualifying major event/production venues to register with the database systems so that their operations of unlicensed wireless microphones and other low-power auxiliary station devices will be protected from potential interference caused by TV white space devices. Previously, the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) had authorized database systems to only provide service to TV white space devices in the East Coast region, specifically in the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina and in the District of Columbia.

This action will allow the nationwide rollout of TV white space devices that use new methods for efficiently using unused spectrum in bands allocated for licensed services. The propagation characteristics of the TV bands spectrum will allow operation of unlicensed radio devices that provide extended coverage and improved performance for wireless hot spots and campus networks and increase the amount of spectrum available for unlicensed wireless technologies.

The FCC rules require that TV white space database systems protect the following radio services and receive-only operations: 1) broadcast television stations; 2) fixed broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) links; 3) receive sites of TV translator, low power and Class A TV stations, and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs); 4) public safety and private land mobile operations; 5) offshore radio telephone service operations; 6) radio astronomy service operations at specific sites; and 7) low-power auxiliary service operations.

There are currently 10 authorized TV bands white space database administrators, two of which are approved by the FCC to provide service to TV white space devices. The two approved database systems are operated by Spectrum Bridge and Telcordia Technologies. The TV bands white space database administrators each operate a database system that include records for all licensed facilities and additional facilities in the TV bands that are to be protected from interference.

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