FCC to allow new low power devices on vacant TV spectrum

MUMBAI: US media regulatory body the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a First Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

This marks the first step towards allowing new low power devices to operate in the broadcast television spectrum at locations where channels in that spectrum are not in use by television stations or other authourised services.

This action will enable the development of new and innovative types of devices and services for businesses and consumers in the US.

The FCC has concluded that fixed low power devices can be allowed to operate on TV channels in areas where those frequencies are not being used for TV or other incumbent licensed services.

The marketing of such devices may commence on 18 February, 2009, after the digital television (DTV) transition is complete and all TV stations are in operation on their permanent DTV channels.

The FCC has also invited further comment on a number of issues that were raised in response to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making. It has solicited additional information that is needed to determine whether personal/portable devices can operate in any of the TV channels without causing harmful interference. It also invited comment to explore whether low power devices should be permitted on TV channels 2-4, which are used by TV interface devices such as VCRs, and whether fixed low power devices can be permitted on TV channels 14-20.

The FCC has made technical proposals to facilitate use of a dynamic frequency selection (DFS) mechanism to ensure that TV band devices operate only on vacant TV channels. In addition, it sought further comment on implementation details for the geo-location and control signal interference avoidance approaches.

The FCC says that it has reaffirmed its commitment to developing a complete record to ensure that the final rules will protect TV broadcasting and other service against harmful interference. In particular, it has invited parties to submit test results showing that TV band devices will not cause harmful interference. In addition, the FCC plans to conduct extensive testing itself to assess the potential interference from low power devices operating in the TV bands before adopting final rules.

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