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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

August 6, 2007 at 11:54 AM

FCC gives ‘white space’ device an early thumbs down

Earlier this year, Microsoft, Google, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Philips — working together as the White Space Coalition — built a demonstration device to lobby the government to open up unused television airwaves — called white space — for wireless Internet access. The effort got the backing of Rep. Jay Inslee, for one.

But the Federal Communication Commission’s initial review of the device was negative.

Broadcasting and Cable reports on the FCC’s statement:

“This report determined that the sample prototype white-space devices submitted to the commission for initial evaluation do not consistently sense or detect TV broadcast or wireless microphone signals,” the commission said, striking a blow to the hopes of companies looking to use the spectrum for portable devices like PDAs and game controllers.

The prototype was meant to demonstrate that accessing unused TV spectrum would not interfere with existing technology, such as TV broadcasts on adjacent channels and wireless signals.

The FCC review pleased the National Association of Broadcasters, which worries that using the white space would disrupt their signals.

NewsFactor Network covers the NAB reaction:

The FCC’s latest tests “confirm what NAB and others have long contended, that the portable, unlicensed devices proposed by high-tech firms can’t make the transition from theory to actuality without compromising interference-free television reception,” said NAB executive vice president Dennis Wharton in a prepared statement.

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