Spectrum Alliance Releases New White Space Rules

The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance--Google, Microsoft, Facebook--continues to push for using licensed TV spectrum for unlicensed broadband.

The latest comes in a proposal by the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, of which they are all members, of new rules for the use of the so-called TV White Spaces.

Microsoft, Google and others have been trying to leverage the push for universal service to their case, particularly the need to reach rural areas. The publication of new rules comes hours after the Trump Administration took steps to promote rural broadband buildouts.

"[T]he updated model rules offer higher availability for dynamic spectrum devices and stronger protection for incumbent users," the alliance says. "The Alliance has long been championing TVWS technology to connect those in underserved and rural locations, which will in turn help to bridge the digital divide," said alliance President Kalpak Gude. "Our membership consists of organizations at the forefront of TVWS developments, and we will continue to work together to ensure global connectivity, while maintaining the most effective and efficient use of spectrum, is achieved.”

Microsoft, which has long eagerly eyed the low-band TV spectrum, just last week joined with ACT: The App Association and various rural and education groups to form the Connect Americans Now (CAN) coalition to promote white spaces for rural broadband.

That comes as full-power broadcasters--the "incumbents" in the white spaces equation--are looking for more of that broadcast spectrum to simulcast new ATSC 3.0 next generation signals and low powers and translators displaced in the post incentive auction repack are looking for new spectrum homes, so there is plenty of competing interest in that low-band TV spectrum.

Following the President's signing of two executive orders Monday (Jan. 8) to speed rural broadband deployment, CAN hailed the move and tied it to the need to use the TV white spaces.

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.