FCC’s Martin creates white spaces fellowship, training initiative

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 7:10am
Traci Patterson

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin has announced the creation of a new International TV White Spaces Fellowship and Training Initiative.

Martin said: "This Fellowship and Training Initiative will provide a platform for the FCC to work with international regulators and their spectrum experts on technical issues associated with the use of TV white spaces and further build on our momentum in this area. It is important that we continue to support ways to expand consumers access to cutting-edge wireless products, while also encouraging the most efficient and innovative use of valuable spectrum, and this program will help us achieve those goals."

FCC staff will provide remote training to interested regulators and technical experts and will also travel to meet with them to provide advice and insight, the Commission said. In addition, the FCC will launch a Web site dedicated to the use of white spaces for wireless broadband – including the testing done and technical parameters established to protect incumbent users and provide training videos. 

The Fellowship and Training Initiative comes on the heels of actions taken by the Commission last November to adopt rules that will allow for the unlicensed commercial use of TV white spaces spectrum (story here). The FCC approved the controversial proposal, despite its own tests determining that the technology interferes with broadcast TV, cable TV and wireless microphones.

In November, the FCC said that wireless microphones will be protected in a variety of ways. Venues using wireless microphones will be able to enter into the database. The Commission also has required that devices include the ability to listen to the airwaves to sense wireless microphones as an additional measure of protection for these devices.

And in November, the Commission vowed to closely oversee and monitor the introduction of TV white space devices, and to “act promptly to remove from the market any equipment found to be causing harmful interference and will require the responsible parties to take appropriate actions to remedy any interference that may occur.”

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) and the International Bureau (IB) will oversee the Fellowship initiative and will seek candidates for the Fellowship who are familiar with the technical aspects of wireless communications, particularly broadband services, and the testing of commercial wireless devices for commercial use.

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