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FCC to test white space database at its own pace

See that faint silhouette lurking on the horizon? That'd be a wave of white space internet, and it's inching ever closer to the US. On Wednesday, the FCC confirmed that it will begin testing a new database that will enable gadgets to operate on white space airwaves, nearly a year after first ratifying its "super WiFi" initiative. The Spectrum Bridge database, as outlined last year, will map out all channels that aren't being used by radio or TV services, thereby preventing broadband devices from interfering with broadcasts. The system will be tested over a 45-day period beginning on September 19th and ending on November 2nd, in order to make sure that it correctly distinguishes available channels from those currently in use. Cable operators and wireless mic users are invited to register with the database to test its accuracy, but this trial period could easily be extended if the Commission determines that further tests are in order. And, though there's still no indication that unlicensed broadband devices will be hitting the market anytime soon, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski seems confident that this white space spectrum could drastically change the industry. "Unleashing white spaces spectrum will enable a new wave of wireless innovation," Genachowski explained. "It has the potential to exceed the billions of dollars in economic benefit from WiFi, the last significant release of unlicensed spectrum, and drive private investment and job creation." You can read the FCC's full public notice, after the break.

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Office of Engineering and Technology Announces the Opening of Public Testing for Spectrum Bridge's TV Band Database System
ET Docket No. 04-186

The Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) announces that on September 19, 2011, it will commence a 45-day public trial of Spectrum Bridge Inc.'s TV band database system. This is a limited trial that is intended principally to allow the public to access and test Spectrum Bridge's database system to ensure that it correctly identifies channels that are available for unlicensed TV band devices, properly registers those facilities entitled to protection, and provides protection to authorized services and registered facilities as specified in the rules. We encourage all interested parties to test the database and provide appropriate feedback to Spectrum Bridge.

The Commission's Part 15 rules (47 C.F.R. § 15.701 et seq.) require that unlicensed TV band devices contact an authorized database system to obtain a list of channels that are available for their operation (i.e., channels not occupied by authorized radio services) at their individual locations and must operate only on those channels. Such devices are required to provide their geographic location, by means of a secure Internet connection, to a TV band database system authorized by the Commission. The database will then return a list of the channels available for operation by the device for its reported location.

As part of its authorization process for TV band database systems, the Commission stated that each database will be subject to a public trial period of not less than 45 days to ensure that the database is providing accurate results before it is allowed to be made available for regular public use. OET has examined Spectrum Bridge's channel availability calculator and finds that it is ready for trial testing by the public.
Trial Access and Details

Parties may participate in the trial by accessing Spectrum Bridge's TV band database test facility at: This website provides a description of the trial, instructions for participation, details on use of the database system, access to the database's various capabilities, and a link for providing feedback to Spectrum Bridge. Note that the test facility will not be active before the date the trial is scheduled to commence.

During this trial, participants are encouraged to test
• the channel availability calculator;
• the cable headend and broadcast auxiliary temporary receive site registration utilities; and
• the wireless microphone registration utility
to ensure that each of these elements of the database system is working properly and providing the interference protection required under our rules.

In addition, participants are encouraged to report any inaccuracies or other issues with any aspect of the database system to Spectrum Bridge through the response facility on the trial's website. Spectrum Bridge will respond, as appropriate, to such reports with an explanation and notification of any responsive actions it may take, as appropriate. During the trial, Spectrum Bridge may apply any corrective measures it determines are needed and will advise participants of such measures through the trial's website.

As indicated above, the trial of the Spectrum Bridge database system is currently scheduled to last for 45 days and will end on November 2, 2011. However, if the results of the trial indicate that additional testing is necessary, OET may extend the trial period.

After the close of the trial, Spectrum Bridge will provide a summary report to OET that identifies: (1) problems reported and their disposition; and (2) descriptions of changes made to the channel availability calculator or registration systems. Once Spectrum Bridge submits its report, we will provide a short period of time for interested parties to submit comments on the report. Note that the successful performance of the database system through this trial is only one element in the commission's evaluation of a system for approval to operate. Other requirements for TV band database systems are set forth in 47 C.F.R. 15.701 et seq. and OET's January 26, 2011 Order on TV band database administrators (see Order in ET Docket No. 04-186, DA 11-131). OET would grant final approval for Spectrum Bridge to operate its database system with certified TV band devices once it determines that the system complies with all of the applicable rules and requirements. The public will be informed of such decision through a Public Notice.

The FCC rules require that TV band database systems protect the following radio services: (1) broadcast television stations (including full power, TV translator, low power TV, and Class A stations); (2) fixed broadcast auxiliary service links; (3) receive sites (and received channels) of TV translator, low power TV and Class A TV stations and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs); (4) private land mobile radio service and commercial mobile radio service operations; (5) offshore radio telephone service operations; (6) radio astronomy operations at specific sites; and (7) low power auxiliary service operations (principally licensed and certain approved unlicensed wireless microphone venue sites). Except for MVPD receive sites, sites where licensed wireless microphones are used, and approved unlicensed wireless microphone venues, the necessary protection data will either be extracted by Spectrum Bridge from the Commission's databases or are specified in the rules. Operators of facilities for which information is contained in the Commission's records or provided in the rules do not need to take any action to obtain protection from TV band devices.

Operators of MVPD receive sites and wireless microphones users must specifically register their sites to receive protection from TV band devices. As required under the rules, Spectrum Bridge is providing a registration capability for these facilities. These registration capabilities are available through the database test facility at: The rules also provide that responsible parties may request that the Commission approve registrations for protection of venues where large numbers of unlicensed wireless microphones are used. Such requests for registration will first be made available for public comment, and the Commission will subsequently review them for approval. However, the Commission has not yet completed the development of its process for acceptance and approval of registrations for these venues. In the interim and for purposes of this trial, Spectrum Bridge, with OET's approval, has implemented a test registration capability for registration of venues where unlicensed wireless microphones are used; this test registration capability is also available through Spectrum Bridge's the database test facility.

Registrations for MVPD receive sites, sites where licensed wireless microphones are used, and venues where large numbers of wireless microphones are used that are made during the trial period will be deleted by Spectrum Bridge after the trial. Parties will be able to register their MVPD receive sites and sites where licensed wireless microphones are used in the database once general operation of the database for use by TV band devices is approved and implemented. Parties responsible for venues where large numbers of wireless microphones are used will need to request registration approval by the Commission once the Commission's process for that function is activated. We encourage parties responsible for MVPD receive sites and licensed wireless microphone operations to enter trial registrations and make use of these capabilities in their testing of Spectrum Bridge's database. OET will provide notice of, and time for, affected parties to enter active registrations into Spectrum Bridge's database during the process for final approval of the Spectrum Bridge database system for full operation. We also note that once one or more additional database systems are approved and active, all registrations entered with a given database will be communicated to the other database(s) so that registrations will not need to be entered with multiple databases.

The TV bands database systems are the subject of a docketed proceeding, ET Docket No. 04-186, and responses to the trial of Spectrum Bridge's database system conducted pursuant to this public notice may be filed with the Commission at any time using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) as described below. A simplified interface for ECFS has been implemented to facilitate consumer comment. Documents filed on ECFS may be accessed and reviewed on that system, which contains copies of written submissions and summaries of oral submissions regarding the white spaces proceeding.

Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR §§ 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on the trial of Spectrum Bridge's database system at any time during and after the trial period. Comments may be filed using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

• Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the ECFS:

• Paper Filers: Parties that choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.

Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

• All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building.

• Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

• U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.

People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Marlene H. Dortch, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554. Parties should also send a copy of their filings to Hugh L. Van Tuyl, Office of Engineering and Technology, Federal Communications Commission, Room 7-A162, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554, or by e-mail to Parties must also serve one copy with the Commission's copy contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc. (BCPI), Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554, (202) 488-5300, or via e-mail to

Documents in ET Docket No. 04-186 are available for public inspection and copying during business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street, SW, Room CY A257, Washington, DC 20554. The documents may also be purchased from BCPI, telephone (202) 488-5300, facsimile (202) 488-5563, TTY (202) 488-5562, e-mail

Questions regarding this Public Notice may be directed to Alan Stillwell at (202) 418-2470 or Hugh L. Van Tuyl at (202) 418-7506.

By the Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology.