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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Microsoft is designated a TV bands database admin, follows Google

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Microsoft Corporation received conditional designation by the FCC as a TV bands database administrator. Microsoft joins Google and 8 others, Comsearch, Frequency Finder Inc., KB Enterprises LLC and LS Telcom, Key Bridge Global LLC, Neustar Inc., Spectrum Bridge Inc., Telcordia Technologies, and WSdb LLC. This brings the list of available administrators to 10 in total. 

The TV bands, or television “white spaces” are the unused portions of the broadcast television spectrum, freed by the transition to digital TV. Availability within the spectrum varies with geographical location; the TV bands database is used as a control and coordination measure for the bands. It is required that devices that would use this unlicensed spectrum would include a geo-location capability and access to the database, containing frequencies off limits for use in that area, enabling devices to communicate without interfering with incumbent users. 

Manufacturers of devices are free to choose which database to use in their devices. Database administrators may charge fees for access to the database. In lieu of geo-location and database access, devices can employ hardware that listens to the band, called spectrum sensing, this requires approval by the FCC first, each application must be placed on public notice, and the FCC will conduct tests to evaluate performance prior to approval, which could result in a far more costly product. 

Each approved database administrator must make their database available for a 5 year term. At this time all administrators are conditional and pending, the FCC will announce when and if any particular administrator is available for public use.

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