WASHINGTON The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday (May 13) announced plans to open up underutilized broadcast TV spectrum to unlicensed wireless devices.
Emerging services like software-defined smart radios should be able to detect and use the TV spectrum when it is not being used for broadcasting. The FCC said it hopes the spectrum initiative will spur development of new unlicensed, broadband devices and services. The agency also said unlicensed operations in TV bands could also extend the service range of current wireless service providers.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell called the initiative, which now enters the agency's rulemaking process, "a smart solution that would expand the availability of spectrum for new advanced and innovative services."
Chip companies banking on the shift to wireless services praised the move the squeeze greater efficiency from broadcast spectrum as that industry moves to digital technologies.
"Releasing this spectrum for unlicensed use will help foster new technologies, create opportunities for business, and bring exciting new products to consumers," said Patrick Gelsinger, Intel Corp.'s chief technical officer. "By using existing technologies, smart radios can readily detect and use TV channels that are unutilized in a given market and avoid interference with local broadcasters."