Google Wants FCC To Put It In Charge Of Identifying Spectrum
March 4, 2013

Google Wants FCC To Put It In Charge Of Identifying Spectrum

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

As more connected devices are released into the wild, the spectrum needed to keep these devices connected is dwindling. Yet, for all the spectrum being used in major parts of the US, such as Dallas/Fort Worth, LA, Miami and New York City, there are still plenty of wide open spaces where very little spectrum is being used.

Not surprisingly, Google wants to be the company chosen by the FCC to be in charge of listing where these so-called “White Spaces” are located. As the owner of this database, Google would be responsible for listing which radio transmitting devices are operating and where. Any “interested party” who wishes to use some of this spectrum would then use Google´s database to locate the best area for spectrum.

The spectrum in question lives between the channels used in broadcast television. Google has tried before to spread out in-between channels and share them with mobile broadband providers. While Google and others think this will relieve some of the stress being felt by mobile providers, others are concerned that sharing the spectrum in this way could make things crowded for the TV channel holders.

Before they get the job, the FCC is requiring Google to make their potential database open to the public for a 45-day trial run. Anyone interested in scoping out where these white spaces live is free to give the database a spin for the next month and a half.

“There is available spectrum out there -- but it can be hard to find if you don't know where to look,” writes Alan Norman in a blog post for Google´s philanthropic arm:

“One way we're trying to help researchers and other stakeholders identify available spectrum is through dynamic spectrum sharing. Spectrum sharing allows devices to use spectrum when it is not in use by someone else simply by checking a data base. We're in the process (with several others) of becoming a certified database administrator for a band of spectrum called the TV white spaces,” wrote Norman.

Google is one of ten companies vying for the opportunity to maintain this spectrum database. Another tech giant, Microsoft, has also thrown their hat into the FCC ring to be able to manage this database.

During the 45-day trial period, the FCC is encouraging all interested parties to peruse the database, keeping an eye on what kind of spectrum is available and where. Those interested are also asked to test Google´s channel availability calculator, MVPD registration utility, broadcast auxiliary registration utility, fixed TVWS registration utility, and wireless microphone utility.

If the test participants happen to find any errors within these registration utilities, they´re asked to report them to Google, who will then be expected to report them to the FCC once the trial is complete.

The public will then be allowed to voice their opinions about Google´s database before the FCC makes its final decision.

Nearly 5 years ago, Google filed a proposal with the FCC to allow mobile broadband providers the ability to use this white space between broadcast channels to deliver high speed connectivity.

Microsoft made a similar proposal two weeks before Google in 2008 in hopes that the FCC would free up some TV spectrum and allow more room for mobile broadband networks to grow.

Google´s 45-day FCC trial will be completed on April 18, 2013.