updated 02:05 pm EST, Mon March 4, 2013
Data accuracy tested ahead of approval
The Federal Communications Commission has begun a 45-day public trial of Google's white-space spectrum database. The test run is designed to verify the accuracy of the system, which identifies unused portions of television spectrum, known as white spaces, that could be used for alternative forms of communication.
Several companies have applied to become database administrators, serving an essential role in the FCC's white-spaces strategy. The Commission has long allocated a significant amount of spectrum for television broadcasts and certain other wireless communications, however the implementation of digital transmission and the lack of broadcasters in rural alreas leaves open significant portions of the TV band.
FCC rules require unlicensed TV-band devices to contact one of the authorized database systems to confirm which channels are available in the operation location. The Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology has already performed limited tests to make sure Google's system effectively provides such functionality, though the public trial is expected to enable a much deeper level of verification.
The OET has also announced that unlicensed TV-band devices can begin operating across the entire country. The move opens the door for businesses and educational institutions to enable extended coverage and faster performance for wireless Internet systems, among other applications.
"It is expected that the opportunities afforded by allowing unlicensed devices in these bands will fuel innovation and investment in new unlicensed wireless technologies," the OET wrote in a statement. "Much as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have changed the landscape of communications today."