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FCC: white space devices won't require spectrum sensing modules

Darren Murph

Phew. For a moment few years there, we thought any device set up to operate on these so-called white spaces -- which have been vacated following the analog-to-digital TV transition -- would be forced to use spectrum sensing modules in order to ensure that no TV station was operating in areas in which it wanted to. Based on the FCC's Second Memorandum Opinion and Order, which was just published a few days back, it looks as if forthcoming white space devices will not be required to ping databases in order to make absolutely sure that it won't interfere with TV stations.

That's the long and short of it, which is fantastic (if not expected) news for device makers and anyone who despises red tape, but Ars Technica has taken an in-depth look at why the Commission made such a call. Indeed, the FCC's 2008 Order mandated that white space gadgets check in beforehand in order to "protect TV signals from interference." Essentially, the call that nixed this addition was the fact that this security ring would inadvertently provide "many wireless microphones systems that go to unlicensed use" -- things like wireless systems at churches, football games, concerts, etc. As with anything FCC-related, it's a long and wordy explanation, but those interested in the finer details are just one click away from the nitty-gritty.

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