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Author Topic: F.C.C. Opens Unused TV Airwaves to Broadband  (Read 3937 times)

Fansome

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F.C.C. Opens Unused TV Airwaves to Broadband
« on: September 24, 2010, 1518 UTC »
September 23, 2010
F.C.C. Opens Unused TV Airwaves to Broadband
By EDWARD WYATT

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission approved a proposal on Thursday that would open vast amounts of unused broadcast television airwaves for high-speed wireless broadband networks and other unlicensed applications.

The change in available airwaves, which were freed up by the conversion of television signals from analog to digital, constitutes the first significant block of spectrum made available for unlicensed use by the F.C.C. in 20 years.

It was a victory that did not come easily, or quickly, however. The F.C.C. first approved a similar measure in 2008, but the technical requirements for unlicensed devices drew objections from 17 companies or groups on both sides of the issue, forcing the commission to redraft its proposal.

While computer and Internet companies like Google, Microsoft and Dell favored the idea, television broadcasters worried about possible interference problems.

The new order eliminates a requirement that devices scan the airwaves for available signals. Rather, they can rely on a database of digital signals, updated daily, for use in locating an available channel on which to transmit.

The order also contains provisions that seek to guarantee that wireless microphones have adequate space to operate without interference.

Supporters of the measure hope the airwaves will be used for stronger and faster wireless networks — known as “super Wi-Fi” because of the signals’ ability to pass more easily through obstacles — and for use in providing Internet access to rural areas.

“Today’s order finally sets the stage for the next generation of wireless technologies to emerge and is an important victory for Internet users across the country,” Richard Whitt, telecommunications and media counsel in Google’s Washington office, said in a posting on the company’s public policy blog.

Though unlicensed airwaves have been used for decades in applications like garage-door openers, cordless phones and, most recently, Wi-Fi networks, the newly available signals are stronger and therefore offer greater opportunities for engineers and entrepreneurs, supporters say.

But potential problems abound. Many urban areas, including New York, have so many operating broadcast TV stations that unused space is relatively rare. Broadcasters objected to some of the F.C.C.’s proposals, fearing that unlicensed devices would interfere with their station signals.

Michael J. Copps, an F.C.C. commissioner who has been a longtime advocate of freeing up the unlicensed airwaves, known as “white space,” said that he expected technology companies would now find ways to overcome those obstacles.

“One of the great lessons that I quickly learned here at the F.C.C. is the power of technology to turn scarcity into abundance,” Mr. Copps said. “I look forward to seeing new devices widely available in consumer markets next year.”

The F.C.C. also approved changes to the E-Rate program, which provides federal money to pay for Internet connections at schools and libraries. The new rules will allow them to set up Internet connections that use the currently dormant fiber-optic lines that are already in place in many communities, giving users more options and theoretically bringing down the cost of Internet service.

The new E-Rate rules also will allow schools to provide Internet access to their communities after students go home in the evenings, further expanding broadband availability. The F.C.C. also voted in favor of an E-Rate pilot program to explore off-campus wireless Internet connections for mobile learning devices, a practice that Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, said would open the way to digital textbooks.

The commission also approved measures that it thinks will help improve the ability of emergency call centers to better locate people who call 911 from wireless phones.

Offline SW-J

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Re: F.C.C. Opens Unused TV Airwaves to Broadband
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 1544 UTC »


Quote
The change in available airwaves, which were freed up by the conversion of television signals from analog to digital, constitutes the first significant block of spectrum made available for unlicensed use by the F.C.C. in 20 years.

How do they make this claim with a straight face?

Before the digital-analog switchover, if an area had 23 TV channels, _after_ the switchover those same 'stations' still occupied 23 TV channels, albeit with different RF frequencies (most everybody moved around a little; some re-occuoied their old RF frequency 'channel' as in the case if CH 8 and 11 in our area for instance).

And, just for the record, the old analog TV channels 'slots' were 6 MHz wide and so are the digital TV channel 'slots'.

Really, this is a matter of semantics; there were concurrent analog and digital TV transmissions in most areas and the 'switchover' merely meant the analog TV transmitters were switched off/taken out of service ... so yes, spectrum was 'freed' up *only* because concurrent D and A transmissions on separate frequencies were no longer taking place, but the choice of modulation "mode" had little to do with it, IMO  ;)  ;) .


o Icom IC-756ProII, ProIII, Alinco DX-70, Kenwood TS-680s
o WinRadio G303e, Degen/Kaito 1103/DE1103, Stoddart NM-25
o 1/2 wave 80m Dipole used with several tuners
o Tuned loops from 2' thru 16' diam. capable of 160m thru 10m

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Re: F.C.C. Opens Unused TV Airwaves to Broadband
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 1952 UTC »
TV channels 52 through 69 have been eliminated.
Chris Smolinski
Westminster, MD
eQSLs appreciated! csmolinski@blackcatsystems.com
netSDR / AFE822x / AirSpy HF+ / KiwiSDR / 900 ft Horz skyloop / 500 ft NE beverage / 250 ft V Beam / 58 ft T2FD / 120 ft T2FD / 400 ft south beverage / 43m, 20m, 10m  dipoles / Crossed Parallel Loop / Discone in a tree

Offline SW-J

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Re: F.C.C. Opens Unused TV Airwaves to Broadband
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2010, 0002 UTC »
TV channels 52 through 69 have been eliminated.


... and, that could have been accomplished without a switch from digital to analog. I'm sure we all recall in 1983 when CHs 70 thru 83 (the "translator band") were eliminated to allow the original cellular service (870 - 890 MHz) and LMR/trunked systems to be placed in that spectrum ... for years and to this day the "T-band" is shared with mobile 2-way ... Now, the issue of adjacent channel assignments is better addressed by digital; one won't be seeing any artifacts in the digital TV image as they might (and we had in our area on analog) when two analog stations are assigned adjacent TV RF channels ... I still say the continued statements by the FCC is on the disingenuous side ('marketing' - they are 'marketing' press releases, of course), and, in light of their proposal to utilize 'white space' (unused spectrum)  _between_  present day operating TV stations with unlicensed wireless devices to be even more disingenuous. Of course, YMMV, and all this is just my little studied opinion from having observed this 'circus' from my place in the electronics/cellular/wireless business ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_70
...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_83

« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 0005 UTC by SW-J »
o Icom IC-756ProII, ProIII, Alinco DX-70, Kenwood TS-680s
o WinRadio G303e, Degen/Kaito 1103/DE1103, Stoddart NM-25
o 1/2 wave 80m Dipole used with several tuners
o Tuned loops from 2' thru 16' diam. capable of 160m thru 10m

 

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