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Conventions Offered as White-Spaces Test Sites

The presidential nominating conventions making space for red staters and blue staters will be adding white spaces to that patriotic color scheme if the company coordinating the use of wireless microphones in Denver and Minneapolis has its way.

In a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin from Broad Comm president and Political Conventions Communications Committee chairman Louis Libin, Broad Comm offered to test unlicensed mobile devices at the same time it is testing microphones in the convention venues but before the action starts.

Broad Comm was employed by both the Republican and Democratic parties to coordinate wireless microphones for news coverage of the events.

"Due to potential interference concerns, we could not conduct the experiment during key convention times," Broad Comm said, adding that it "would provide a real experiment during an event that employs hundreds of wireless microphones and frequencies."

The commission two weeks ago began field-testing of prototype mobile wireless unlicensed devices that would use the digital-TV band alongside TV stations after the switch to digital TV in February 2009. The FCC already set 10 test sites around the Washington, D.C., area, and it plans tests in sports and entertainment venues yet to be named.

The National Football League offered the Ravens’ stadium in Baltimore or the Redskins field outside Washington, D.C., for a sports test, and the folks who put on the Grammy Awards volunteered music festival Lollapalooza in Chicago.

The uniting factor for all of the tests is that they come from folks who have opposed allowing mobile unlicensed devices to share their spectrum for fear of widespread interference that will be tough to impossible to control in an unlicensed regime.