The Federal Communications Commission has published the rules it said it would adopt to ensure that unlicensed white space transmission systems do not interfere with licensed broadcasters operating in nearby spectrum. The FCC approved unlicensed use of white spaces last week (story here).

The FCC’s Second Report and Order (Second R&O) details the actual rules the Commission only described in its approval notice.

These include a directive that an open database be created in which anyone using licensed spectrum can register their use, and that all white space devices include a geolocation capability; devices must be able to access the database and automatically avoid spectrum bands in use at that location.

The FCC will test all devices in its FCC Laboratory. Any device that can successfully automatically sense licensed use of airwaves and confine itself to otherwise unused spectrum – the way white space devices were advertised to work – will be relieved of the requirements of geolocation capability and the ability to access the database.

The Commission added that it will explore in a separate Notice of Inquiry whether higher-powered unlicensed operations might be permitted in TV white spaces in rural areas.  

A PDF of the FCC’s Report & Order is available here.

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