A bunch of tech firms are asking
the FCC to allow them to make use of valuable spectrum that is unused, but controlled by television broadcasters (who don't want to give it up). The FCC has been open
to such an idea for many years. Broadcasters own a ridiculously large portion of spectrum, with large parts of it totally unused. The "white space" was designed to prevent interference by not letting anything work on spectrum anywhere near broadcast spectrum. However, many are pointing out that with today's technology, that spectrum could be put to use without any interference. Microsoft and Google have both been big proponents of opening up that white space for use. In order to help show that the interference bogeyman wasn't a real issue, they've sent prototype devices to the FCC to test. Unfortunately, they seem to have trouble keeping those devices in operation. Back in August the FCC noted that the device didn't work
, and now a new device from Microsoft has also stopped working
Now, to be totally clear, the problems with these devices have nothing
to do with causing interference. The devices haven't been shown to cause interference -- just to have trouble working. But, of course, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) quickly used these failures to slam the idea of freeing up the whitespace, even though there's still no evidence of interference. With the way the NAB has acted around this issue and the recent XM-Sirius merger debate
, you have to conclude that the NAB thinks everyone out there is just completely stupid, and will believe any false or misleading statement it makes. Otherwise it makes no sense for the NAB to make the types of claims it makes on a regular basis. These devices are prototypes, and production devices will be totally different. Either way, the point is not whether the prototypes can keep working, but whether there's interference. That said, it would probably make sense for Microsoft to test these devices a bit more before tossing them over the wall to the FCC.