Delayed DTV impact on White Spaces

Today was the day that we were suppose to transition to DTV – but that transition has been delayed until June. I hope that gives people time to prepare. I know there are some good people on that mission.

I have been wondering how the delay will impact the use of White Spaces. To refresh your memory, the FCC decided last fall to open up the unlicensed use of the “white spaces” between digital television signals. One possible use is broadband, especially broadband in rural areas.

Well, the delay doesn’t seem to be slowing down the folks who hope to use those spaces. In fairness, I hadn’t heard many big plans for rapid use of the space and I haven’t heard any big complaints since the postponement.

I have heard that some of the bigwigs are collaborating on a tool to move the whole process forward – a database to oversee the use of white space spectrum per the FCC requirements. Specifically, the FCC requires white space devices to have sensing technology linked to a geolocation database, allowing the device to detect and avoid broadcast signals. (remember that’s what all of the testing was about last summer.)

The founding members of the White Spaces Database Group include Comsearch, Dell, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Motorola and NeuStar.

So it looks as if the windfall of time for White Spaces will be well used. Hopefully come June 12 – people will be ready to watch DTV and companies will be ready to broadband via White Spaces.

This entry was posted in FCC, Policy, Rural and tagged , by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

1 thought on “Delayed DTV impact on White Spaces

  1. Delay in DTV transition has no impact on the use of white spaces. Based on the state of standardization in this space, and other research activity, no products will be ready for another 12-18 months. Plus, the FCC still has to decide how to create the database of available frequency. The group lead by Google etc is only trying to “advise” the FCC. I am sure there is another (much quieter) group led by broadcasters and other interest groups doing the same.

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