Back on August 1, we reported that the FCC had tested two portable devices intended for use in unoccupied TV "white space" channels. The proponents claimed the devices were able to detect and avoid TV signals, thereby allowing portable use while also preventing interference to TV reception. The FCC’s engineers disagreed, finding that the devices "do not consistently sense or detect TV . . . signals," and hence are "capable of causing interference to TV broadcasting . . ."

"Hey, it worked fine for us," the proponents retorted, in effect, and all but accused the FCC of breaking the device.

In the meantime, the FCC chairman announced that he hoped to issue a white space order soon. This raised consternation in an industry already on edge. If based on the current test results, such an order would presumably have to disfavor portable white space devices.

Last Friday, the FCC lab announced it would test additional devices, if people wanted to send any in. No word yet on takers, or how the additional testing would affect the FCC’s decision schedule. But the lab is busy these days, and testing would probably take several weeks.

The public notice on new testing is at this link.

An unrelated development concerns fixed (non-portable) unlicensed use of the white space frequencies, long thought to be headed for easy approval. FiberTower Corporation and the Rural Telecommunications Group, Inc. have submitted a white paper urging that fixed use be licensed on an exclusive basis, either by auction or by charging fees. Their filing is at this link.