Google pitches white-spaces database

Google is reasserting itself as one of the driving forces behind the move to open the vacant spectrum that sits between TV channels to broadband use.

In a filing Monday with the Federal Communications Commission, the search giant threw its hat in the ring to serve as one of the companies that would administer a database of the so-called TV white spaces, a stipulation the FCC attached in its order to open the spectrum to unlicensed use for broadband service.

The commission mandated the database to ensure that mobile devices running on white-space spectrum wouldn’t interfere with adjacent channels carrying TV signals, a primary concern the broadcasters’ lobby raised throughout a vigorous campaign in opposition of the move to open the spectrum.

The devices that will be permitted to run on white-space networks will be required to have a geolocating capability that syncs to the database, which will assign them an unused frequency. Google banded with several other companies, including Motorola and NeuStar, last February to form the White Spaces Database Group, laying the groundwork for getting the project off the ground.

In October, a trial white-space network operating under a special exemption from the FCC went live, serving as a proof-of-concept that delivered broadband service to a rural community in Virginia.

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