Press Releases & Advisories
31 January 2011
Advisory: FCC Conditionally Designates Nine Entities As TV Bands Device Database Administrators
On January 26, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology (“OET”) issued an order conditionally designating nine entities – Comsearch, Frequency Finder Inc., Google Inc., KB Enterprises LLC and LS Telecom, Key Bridge Global LLC, Neustar Inc., Spectrum Bridge Inc., Telcordia Technologies, and WSdb LLC – as TV bands device database administrators. The TV bands databases will be used by fixed and personal portable unlicensed devices to identify unused channels (commonly known as “white spaces”) that are available at their geographic location.
How Databases Will Work. The designated administrators will develop databases that are necessary to enable a new class of broadband wireless devices into the TV spectrum. Specifically, to prevent interference with the authorized incumbent users of the TV bands, the new unlicensed devices are required to include a geo-location capability as well as the ability to access the database which identifies the incumbent users entitled to interference protection (for example, full power and low power TV stations). The database will inform the device as to which TV channels are vacant and can be used at its location.
Conditions. The database administrators order explains that the nine entities designated as administrators are subject to the following conditions:
By February 28, 2011, each administrator must supplement its previously-filed proposal to indicate how it will comply with the rule changes adopted in the Second Memorandum Opinion and Order issued in September 23, 2010 that updated the rules regarding television white spaces. On that same date, any of the database administrators wishing to consolidate their operations must submit an updated proposal, and notification must be received from any database administrator opting to withdraw its proposal.
All database administrators must attend OET-led workshops to address the operation of the databases to ensure consistency and compliance with the rules and the database trials. Each administrator must designate a responsible party who will represent its organization at the workshops and also ensure compliance with all of the conditions by February 28, 2011. The first workshop is scheduled for March 10, 2011 at the Commission's Laboratory in Columbia, Maryland.
Each database administrator must cooperate with any steps that OET deems necessary to ensure compliance with the rules, including security features.
Database administrators must agree that they will not use their capacity as a database manager to engage in any discriminatory or anticompetitive practices or any practices that may compromise the privacy of users.
Database administrators that satisfy all of the conditions will be allowed to make their databases available for actual use for a five-year term, which commences upon the announcement by OET of a database’s public availability. The Commission is considering employing similar database approaches in other spectrum bands beyond the TV bands.
Wiltshire & Grannis serves as counsel for Spectrum Bridge Inc., one of the designated database administrators, in the proceeding discussed above. For more information regarding the database administrator order, or Wiltshire & Grannis’s telecommunications practice, please contact Ed Thomas at (202) 730-1305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This client advisory is not intended to convey legal advice. It is circulated to our clients as a convenience and is not intended to reflect or create an attorney-client relationship as to its subject matter.