Reconsideration petitions in the FCC’s “white space” proceeding – about unlicensed devices in locally vacant TV channels – show the controversy is far from over.
After carefully studying 35,000 comments, dating back to 2002, the FCC issued an order last November that tried mightily to balance the rights and interests of TV broadcasters and viewers, manufacturers and users of the wireless microphones in TV spectrum, would-be manufacturers and users of the new unlicensed devices, and cable companies, along with many other groups that shouldered their way into the proceeding. We reported on the outcome here.
And everybody went home happy. Except the nineteen parties and groups, representing every facet of the proceeding, that last week formally asked the FCC to reconsider its decision. They include:
- broadcast-related interests who seek a return to square one, arguing that the record does not support any unlicensed devices on TV channels;
- LPTV stations that lack needed protection for ongoing analog operations;
- petitioners objecting to a great many specific technical rules, including emission limits, separation requirements, sensing levels, power levels for first-adjacent channels, special procedures for sensing-only devices, fixed base station heights, and many others;
- cable satellite TV providers that claim inadequate protection for headends and cable-ready TV sets; and
- those presenting other issues: real-time operation of the database that catalogs available TV channels; database information security and registration requirements; pending negotiations with the Mexican government; rejected proposals, such as licensed use of white space frequencies; and too many more to list here.
In addition to these petitions are the court cases brought against the same rules by broadcasters and users of wireless microphones. Details are here. The cases have since been consolidated into one, which will likely be set aside for the year or two (or more) it will take the FCC to resolve the reconsiderations.
The FCC will soon ask for comments on the reconsideration petitions. We’re running a pool here in the commlawblog bunker. The number 35,000 is taken.