The FCC will vote at its October meeting to expand the use of the "white spaces" between TV channels for rural broadband, something Microsoft has been pushing and broadcasters have some issues with.
According to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, the "targeted changes" will protect TV broadcasters while allowing for greater broadband coverage in rural and unserved areas.
He said it will also allow for the development of "new and innovative narrowband Internet of Things devices in TV white spaces."
It has been more than a year since the FCC put its white spaces agenda on hold while encouraging Microsoft and broadcasters to hash out a spectrum-sharing agreement for wireless broadband. At that time, Pai (during Congressional testimony) cited the “tricky” technical and policy matters the agency needs to address even as Microsoft and TV stations try to find a middle ground on the band’s use.
Microsoft and NAB ultimately agreed on four of the computer company's five proposals, the holdout being the use of high-power on adjacent-channel issue, which Microsoft continues to push for and the NAB to push against.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.