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'White Spaces' Locator Site Launches

A new Web site is being launched Monday ( that promises to help Web surfers find "all the open TV channels" available in their area for use by unlicensed, mobile devices.

The Federal Communications Commission last fall authorized the use of the so-called white spaces between TV channels for mobile broadband, radios and other spectrum-sensing devices, though it did so over the protestations of broadcasters who argue those devices can interfere with their beautiful new DTV pictures.

The site is the brainchild of the folks at Spectrum Bridge, and employs much of the know-how and backbone of its site, a sort of ebay for identifying spectrum the FCC allows to be traded in a secondary market. "There are people in the industry and at the FCC who have never seen the actual layout of what white space is available, where," says company co-founder Rick Rotondo. "You look at Orlando and there is not much going to be available. You look out in Steamboat Springs and there is a ton of it."

One of the backers of Spectrum Bridge is a technology development fund seeded by the FCC, according to Rotondo.

He said the site can be used by wireless Internet providers to figure out whether there is enough spectrum in a potential service area to make it economically viable. It could also be used by TV stations who want to check and see whether the FCC has gotten their coverage area right, he says. The company gets its information from the FCC in a nightly update of all the commission's databases.
Spectrum Bridge has already pitched the site to the FCC, which is on the lookout for a database manager.