FCC Seeking White Spaces Database Managers

The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) is inviting proposals by January 4, 2010, from parties interested in managing a database of entities using frequency “white spaces” once held by analog TV signals.

Analog TV channels have been relinquished to the FCC by broadcasters in the conversion to digital broadcasting. Now the FCC is going to turn those frequencies, called white spaces, over to broadband services, mobile device makers and other service providers. Such devices or services need a geo-location capability so that they’ll be able to determine in each market which incumbent services already occupy some of those white spaces in order to protect them from interference.

The OET says the database managers have to be able to manage a data repository, perform calculations to determine available channels, register fixed unlicensed devices and licensed services and synchronize data between multiple databases.

A White Spaces Database Group has been formed to advise the commission on how the database would function. Its members include Google, Microsoft, Motorola, the Consumer Electronics Association and other companies and associations.

After proposals are submitted Jan. 4 — for ET Docket No. 04-186 — a public comment period will run through Feb. 3 and replies to comments will be accepted until Feb. 18.