The association of television broadcasters launched a campaign yesterday designed to persuade the Federal Communications Commission not to allow portable wireless Internet services in the so-called white spaces of TV spectrum.The move pits powerful broadcasters against some of the biggest names in technology, including Microsoft Corp., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Dell Inc.
The broadcasters said they began airing a TV advertisement as well as print ads in several Capitol Hill publications. They also planned to send a letter to the FCC arguing that enabling portable wireless Internet services in the white spaces will degrade TV service for consumers just as they spend billions of dollars buying new digital TV sets.
The campaign from the National Association of Broadcasters and the Association for Maximum Service Television comes in response to a report the FCC made at the end of July detailing its testing of prototype devices from the technology giants, which are working together as the White Space Coalition.
The companies, also including Hewlett-Packard Co., EarthLink Inc. and Philips Electronics North America Corp., had submitted prototypes of products that could operate in the portion of a spectrum band that a TV broadcaster doesn't use, known as white space. The devices were designed to look for broadcasts in the spectrum and then transmit only if the spectrum was free. But the FCC found that the devices didn't consistently detect the signals and could sometimes cause interference.
The FCC has already approved transmission in the spectrum for fixed devices. The prototypes submitted by the technology companies were of portable products.
However, two weeks after the FCC released its report, Microsoft filed a letter with the FCC explaining that the device it submitted was badly damaged and that's why it failed to adequately detect broadcast signals.
The broadcasters said that even if the devices work as designed, they won't protect digital TV sets from "devastating interference.ter.