FCC white space device rules to take effect next month

The FCC's final Report and Order regarding the use of radio spectrum (including the portion freed up after the DTV transition) was made public today, revealing that the guidelines for developing white space devices will take effect March 19.

These guidelines are regarded as the first step toward the actual production of new communications devices that capitalize on the newly vacated spectrum. Though the document was finalized in November, before the DTV transition was delayed,
Jake Ward of the Wireless Innovation Alliance informed Betanews this afternoon that the actual rulemaking will likely be unaffected by the transition's delay.

"As it relates to the actual release of white space products in the marketplace," Ward continued, "That is more of a 'wait-and-see' situation."

The document, which is available in today's federal register (Vol. 74, No. 30) contains some already outdated conditions, such as the following: "...The Commission stated that it will not permit marketing of TV band devices to commence until February 18, 2009, the date on which all primary, full service TV stations will be in operation on their permanent DTV channels." The final day for broadcast television stations to be switched over to from analog to digital signals was originally to be today.

Though the final day has been pushed back to June 12, the FCC expects (PDF available here) some 421 more stations to terminate their analog signals before midnight tonight.

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