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FCC Takes Steps To Allow Use Of Unused TV ‘White Space’ Spectrum

WASHINGTON, November 25, 2009 – The Federal Communications Commission has moved ahead to implement an order from last year to establish rules to allow new wireless devices to operate in unused broadcast television spectrum.

“The rules will allow for the use of unlicensed TV band devices in the unused spectrum to provide broadband data and other services for consumers and businesses,” according to a public notice (DOC) dated November 25. The FCC document invites proposals from entities that would like to be “Designated TV Band Device Database Managers.”

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WASHINGTON, November 25, 2009 – The Federal Communications Commission has moved ahead to implement an order from last year to establish rules to allow new wireless devices to operate in unused broadcast television spectrum.

“The rules will allow for the use of unlicensed TV band devices in the unused spectrum to provide broadband data and other services for consumers and businesses,” according to a public notice (DOC) dated November 25. The FCC document invites proposals from entities that would like to be “Designated TV Band Device Database Managers.”

In order to ensure that the new unlicensed wireless devices only operate on spectrum that is currently not being used by licensed services, the FCC is requiring users to provide information that will be put into a database that “will tell a TV band device which TV channels are vacant and can be used at its location.”

The FCC also plans to use the database “to register the locations of fixed TV band devices and protected locations and channels of incumbent services that are not recorded in Commission databases.”

The FCC has decided to designate one or more “database administrators from the private sector to create and operate TV band databases, which will be a privately owned and operated service.” The FCC said database administrators can “charge fees to register fixed TV band devices and temporary broadcast auxiliary fixed links and to provide lists of available channels to TV band devices.”

Proposals from those seeking to become database managers are due to the FCC by January 4. Proposals should address how the entity plans to meet the basic components of a TV band database such as a data registration process “and whether the proponent seeks to provide all or only some of these functions and affirm that the database service will comply with all of the applicable rules.” The FCC is allowing public comments on the proposals through February 3.

Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, hailed the FCC’s progress to allow the use of the unused spectrum. “Selecting an administrator for the white spaces database is a crucial step toward bringing consumers another choice in a restrictive broadband marketplace. We expect that use of the white spaces spectrum will foster innovation and create jobs as new devices and services become available,” he said.

Spectrum

Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chair Takes FCC to Task for Communication With Tribes

‘You need to get a little better about talking to and listening to native communities,” the chairman told the FCC.

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Screenshot of Sen. Brian Schatz, D-HI, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

WASHINGTON, September 23, 2022 –Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Brian Schatz on Wednesday urged the Federal Communications Commission to consult more regularly with Tribal leaders on the spectrum-licensing processes.

“Some of [the problems voiced native panelists at the roundtable] could simply be avoided by better, more aggressive, more continuous, more humble consultation, and you’re going to save yourselves a ton of headache,” said Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat. “I’m wondering if you need to get a little better about talking to and listening to native communities at every step in the process.”

“Chairman, I think you put that extremely well,” responded Umair Javed, chief council for the office of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

Tyler Iokepa Gomes, deputy to the chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, told the committee of difficulties faced by native Hawaiians in obtaining spectrum licenses. Since the DHHL is a state entity, not a Tribal government, Gomes said, it was forced to compete against two local, native communities in a waiver process. Gomes said that his agency’s competition with the other waiver applicants caused considerable friction in Hawaii’s native community at large.

Low digital literacy is also a problem for some native communities attempted to secure spectrum licenses. “When it comes to technology, a lot of people seem to be scared of it,” said Keith Modglin, director of information technology for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, a federally-recognized Indian Tribe.

Modglin argued that education initiatives to raise digital literacy and explain the intra- and intercommunity benefits of spectrum would benefit his band greatly.

The land of the Mille Lacs Band is a “checkerboard,” meaning that Tribal lands are interspersed with non-tribal lands, said Melanie Benjamin, the tribe’s chief executive officer. According to Benjamin, navigating government’s failure to account for this status caused substantial delays for her tribe.

In addition to improving communication, Schatz called on the FCC to take affirmative actions to ease regulatory burdens on small tribes. “There are some really under resourced native communities, and it shouldn’t be a labyrinth to figure out what they’re eligible for,” he said. “Try to figure out some one-stop shop, some simple way to access the resources that they are eligible for under current law.”

Javed acknowledged a need for the FCC improve its communication with native communities, but he said the FCC is making strides in other areas. “While spectrum is one piece of that puzzle, I think we are making a lot of progress in some of our programs like the Affordable Connectivity Program, updates to the E-Rate program, some of our mapping efforts as well,” he said.

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WISP

Wisper Internet CEO Takes Issue With Federal Government Preference for Fiber

Wisper CEO Nathan Stooke said the attitude to connect more Americans should be to let the “best technology win.”

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September 13, 2022 – The CEO of a wireless internet service provider took a shot at the federal government’s preference for fiber infrastructure, saying the attitude to connect more Americans should be to let the “best technology win.”

Officials from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a Commerce agency that is handling $42.5 billion for broadband infrastructure, have said that they prefer fiber builds because of their claimed ability to stand the test of time.

But Nathan Stooke of Wisper Internet said during an Ask Me Anything-style interview with Broadband.Money on August 26 that the government shouldn’t “dictate the technology.”

“What is their goal?” Stooke asked in an exchange with Drew Clark, Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher. “I mean they keep saying it’s to get people who don’t have service, service. We have to bridge the digital divide by forcing it to be fiber. You’ve now shrunk down the number of people you can serve right because it’s just the reality of it.

“I think there should be some fiber projects there. I’m never advocating for ‘don’t exclude anything.’”

A similar sentiment was expressed last month during a panel at the TPI Aspen Conference, in which representatives from private industry, trade associations and academia urged the government to give alternative technologies – like fixed-wireless and satellite – a chance to show their potential. That came after the Federal Communications Commission denied SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service nearly $900 million from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund because it is still a developing technology.

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5G

5G Connected Traffic Structures Will Facilitate Safer, Environmentally Friendly Travel: Industry

The release of more spectrum will help move autonomous vehicles forward.

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Screenshot of Joe Moye, CEO of Beep

WASHINGTON, September 13, 2022 – 5G-connected street infrastructure, such as traffic lights, will make commuter travel environmentally friendly and safe, said a panel at a Punchbowl News event Thursday, and it can be facilitated by the release of more spectrum.

The move toward autonomous vehicles will require vehicles and road structures communicating with each other. Some vehicles on the road include sensors that detect objects to avoid collisions – but these vehicles still require someone behind the wheel.

Nick Ludlum, senior vice president and chief communications officer of the event’s sponsor, CTIA, spoke about the environmental benefits of autonomous transportation and said vehicles and road systems can “all work together…to make more efficient transit patterns…so people aren’t sitting and idling in cars with, [producing] all the emissions.”

But Ludlum noted that the Federal Communications Commission can facilitate such autonomous travel by auctioning off more spectrum. “More spectrum means better networks, and better networks means bigger innovations,” he said.

Joe Moye, CEO of autonomous transportation company Beep, said that his company’s specialty is autonomous shuttles – with capacities of 12–14 passengers.

“The vehicles have to interface with infrastructure like a human would,” said. Beep’s CEO argued that 5G-enabled real-time communication between vehicle and infrastructure is “absolutely critical to the safety and effectiveness of these types of vehicles.” Moye also explained that with 5G technology, Beep is developing systems by which a remote operator can take control of an autonomous vehicle and maneuver it out of an emergency.

Moye said he believes that adoption of autonomous mass transit could also significantly reduce commute-driven emissions.

“If we’re gonna really transform mobility as we know it,” Moye said, “we need to have a convenient, safe alternative to our personal vehicles.”

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