White Space Devices Groundwork Begins


Back in November the FCC ruled that consumer mobile devices will be able to take advantage of spectrum left vacant by departing analog television technology. Its a landmark decision that will undoubtedly change the way mobile technology works yet again. But the FCC’s decision merely makes it POSSIBLE – there is a ton of work to be done to ensure the signals used on these white spaces don’t interfere with existing spectrum use.


Today, Google joined Comsearch, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Motorola, and Neustar to launch the White Spaces Database Group. On the Google Public Policy Blog they state:

In the coming weeks and months, members of the group will be offering to the Commission their perspectives, and some specific recommendations, about the technical requirements we would like to see adopted for the database. Many of these specifications ultimately will be heavily technical; put simply, we’ll advocate for data formats and protocols that are open and non-proprietary, with database administration that is also open and non-exclusive.

We don’t plan to become a database administrator ourselves, but do want to work with the FCC to make sure that a white spaces database gets up and running. We hope that this will unfold in a matter of months, not years.

It won’t be an easy road to get up and running. Even after the logistics of the White Space Database are accomplished the levels of testing, commercial device manufacturing and testing. Google’s hope to limit the process to “months, not years” is encouraging and admirable but also lofty – accomplishing deployment within the next 12 months is easier said than done.

So does 23 months count as “months not years” since “years” being plural means 2 or more? Or do you think Google really hopes this is an initiative that can see a product launch supporting white spaces in 2009 or early 2010?

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Just curious as how fast the data transfer will be.

  2. It’ll be up to several megabytes per use both in download and upload. Google should target the first Android devices for White Spaces for release this year and Obama should put his full support behind this.

    White Spaces will bridge the digital divide. Especially it’s good for rural areas and for developing countries. It makes no sense for developing countries not to jump directly to using a peer-to-peer White Spaces network deployment approach rather than using any of HSDPA, WiFi, high frequency satellite or other low quality spectrum that we have all be4en forced to use in rich countries for the past many years because of the monopoly on spectrum by monopolistic broadcasters and telecoms.

  3. Technically, plural means “more than 1”, not “2 or more”. So yes, one and eleven twelfths years is plural.

  4. Additionally, they said they want to establish the specifications for the database in months-not-years — not that they want to have a product launch in that time frame.

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