FCC Set to Adopt New Rules on Using TV White Space for Broadband | Citizens Against Government Waste

FCC Set to Adopt New Rules on Using TV White Space for Broadband

The WasteWatcher

At the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) February 28, 2020 open meeting, the agency issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for the use of TV white spaces, which will substantially improve broadband coverage for rural and underserved Americans. 

TV white space (TVWS) is the unused spectrum or space between the television broadcast channels that serves as a buffer between television stations to keep one station’s signals from bleeding into the next station’s feed.  It can be used, without any impact on station interference, to access broadband internet in rural areas through the use of a database manager and white space radios.  The benefits of using TVWS signals are twofold:  they can travel further than standard Wi-Fi signals and, in lower frequencies, can penetrate through obstacles and cover uneven ground with less infrastructure.

The FCC’s NPRM proposes to increase the maximum permissible power for fixed white space devices operating in less congested areas, which should improve latency issues; increases the maximum antenna height; creates minimum separation distances required for protected services like TV stations, cable head ends, translator receive sites, land mobile radio service, and licensed wireless microphones; allows higher power mobile operations within defined “geo-fenced” areas; creates rules for narrowband white space devices for Internet of Things applications; and, seeks comment on allowing higher power levels when located inside an adjacent TV channel’s service contour.

Citizens Against Government Waste has long maintained that bridging the digital divide will require an “all of the above” approach to broadband deployment, including fixed wireless, mobile, cable, fiber, and TVWS.  The rulemaking will enable improved usage of TVWS in areas where traditional broadband deployment is lacking or otherwise unavailable.

Sign Up For Email Updates

Optional Member Code