Wednesday, October 11, 2006

FCC Considers Permitting Low Power Devices in Unused TV Spectrum

The FCC took its first important steps toward 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 authorized services.

In its First Report and Order, the Commission 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 Commission declined to permit operation on TV channel 37 that is used by radio astronomy and wireless medical telemetry services; and on TV channels 52-69, which have been reallocated for public safety and other mobile services. It also declined to permit the operation of personal/portable devices on TV channels 14-20, which are used by public safety service in 13 cities, leaving for further consideration the issue of whether fixed devices might be used in that band.

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

In the Further Notice, the Commission invited further comment on a number of issues that were raised in response to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making. It 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.

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