FCC Clarifies TV White Spaces Rules, Keeps 30-MHz Spectrum Reserve for 600-MHz Auction

The Federal Communications Commission has modified its existing Part 15 rules related to use of license-exempt spectrum, allowing TV white spaces devices (fixed and portable), as well as wireless microphones, to use channels in the 600 MHz and television broadcast bands.

Separately, the Commission also declined to increase the “spectrum reserve” beyond 30 MHz for the upcoming auction.

The Commission’s Part 15 rules permit devices to operate on unused TV channels, generally known as “TV white space” spectrum.

Following the upcoming 600-MHz incentive auction, there may be fewer white space frequencies in the television band for use by such devices.

The new rules--largely technical--allow for more robust unlicensed use and promote spectral efficiency in the 600 MHz band.

The rules allow use of the duplex gap and guard bands, and channel 37, on a shared non-interference basis with medical telemetry and radio astronomy.  

The rules permit sharing of spectrum between white space devices and unlicensed microphones in the 600 MHz band, and expand the location and frequency information in the white space databases and update database procedures.

The Commission also set new transition periods for the certification, manufacturing and marketing of white space devices and wireless microphones that comply with new rules.

The Federal Communications Commission reaffirmed its decision to set aside a spectrum reserve of up to 30 megahertz of spectrum in next year’s 600-MHz incentive auction, though some including T-Mobile US had requested a larger set-aside.

Non-nationwide providers as well as nationwide providers who currently hold less than one-third of available high-quality low-band spectrum in a given license area will be eligible to bid for the reserve spectrum.

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H Sama Nwana, Executive Director, Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, United Kingdom; Jeffrey Yan, Director, Technology Policy, Microsoft Corporation, Singapore; Rajan Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India, India; Peter Stanforth, CTO and Co-founder, Spectrum Bridge, Inc., USA; and Apurva Mody, Chairman, WhiteSpace Alliance, USA, will speak about TV white spaces at the Spectrum Futures conference, Sept. 10 and 11, 2015, in Singapore.

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