NAB: White Spaces Database Still Not Ready for Prime Time

The National Association of Broadcasters says more work needs to be done on the FCC's system for identifying where incumbent TV station spectrum users and fixed unlicensed white spaces devices are before using it to allow unlicensed wireless (broadband) use in those so-called "white spaces" between channels.

NAB was not sanguine on the prospects of that happening anytime soon. It said the database remains "dysfunctional, inaccurate and unpoliced."

Related: Microsoft Pushes For TV White Spaces

That came in comments from NAB on the new Nominet database. It said it found "errors and omissions" in the system that must be resolved before it is ready for prime time.

NAB said, importantly, that the database did not provide accurate channel information for TV stations.

NAB has long argued that the FCC needs to make protecting incumbent licensed TV station users from interference job an imperative as expands flexible use of spectrum for broadband applications.

NAB says Nominet has addressed some issues NAB raised with it last month in an e-mail, but for others the response was inadequate or unconvincing, NAB tells the FCC.

It also said that despite its importunings over the past three years, the FCC has not improved the database, apparently because there are not enough white spaces devices to make it worth the effort, it said.

It wants the FCC to get off the stick and determine the interference threat before it allows widespread use of the database in the TV band. 

John Eggerton

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.