The US mobile organisation CTIA has appealed to the FCC, the US regulator, not to allow “white space” spectrum – the spectrum that sits between airwaves currently used by TV broadcasters – to be used on an unlicensed basis, reports the Washington Post.
“The way we look at it is there is a model that works, and continues to work,” said Paul Garnett, CTIA’s assistant vice-president for regulatory affairs. “There is some potential there to use [white spaces] in a licensed way to allow incumbents or new entrants to provide new broadband access.”
CTIA joins US mobile operators Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA in their opposition to using the spectrum on an unlicensed basis, a notion the FCC is understood to be considering. The mobile community argues that the spectrum should instead be used for much-needed backhaul. On the other side of the argument is the White Space Coalition, which includes Google, Microsoft, Dell, Philips and others, which claims unlicensed spectrum should be made available for new mobile broadband services.
The FCC is reportedly testing devices in the spectrum to make sure they do not interfere with existing TV signals. If approved this year, commercial white spaces devices could be made available as soon as late 2009.