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Broadcasters Spar With Microsoft, Others Over Wireless Frequency Use Detection Tech

August 27, 2007

Television industry trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable reports that the White Spaces Coalition won't ask the FCC to repeat  its tests of unlicensed wireless devices operating in the digital broadcast spectrum.

That's despite the fact that tests concluded Microsoft's spectrum-sensing device failed to detect vacant channels. Microsoft and its White Spaces Coalition allies (Google, Dell, HP, Intel, Earthlink and Phillips) the believe that a second device intended for this frequency detection technology purpose works.

The detection technology is intended to pave the way for a way for unlicensed portable devices like laptops and personal-digital assistants (PDA) to share spectrum with DTV stations- without causing interference with these DTV stations.  

Broadcasting & Cable's John Eggerton notes that last spring, the FCC's testing of TV receivers last spring found interference from mobile devices to all eight receivers tested. Broadcasters complained that these findings proved their fear that portable devices operating in the broadcast band would disrupt DTV reception.

Despite the test results, the White Space Coaltion it has demonstrated to staffers at the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology that its spectrum-sensing device actually works.

So far, though, the White Space's Coalition's confidence level in newer frequency-detection technology doesn't appear to be equalled by broadcasting industry organizations.

"If both the Phillips and Microsoft devices work as advertised, they will still cause interference to over-the air TV reception,” says David Donovan, head of the Association for Maximum Service Television, tells Eggerton. “Even if the devices worked accurately and sensed an occupied channel, the commission's data on interference from operating on an adjacent channel shows that there would be interference in 80% to 87% of a station's service area."




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