Pai Proposes Higher Transmit Power for White Spaces Devices
Wednesday, February 05, 2020 | Comments

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed updated rules for unlicensed white space devices, which he said would deliver better wireless broadband services in rural areas.

White spaces devices operate in portions of the broadcast television bands (channels 2-35) and spectrum not being used for authorized services. The FCC commissioners will vote on his proposal at the FCC’s monthly open meeting Feb. 28.

Specifically, Pai proposed permitting higher transmit power and higher antennas for fixed white space devices in rural areas. If adopted, these changes would allow white space devices to reach users at greater distances, thus enabling improved broadband coverage. Higher power would also enable signals to better penetrate foliage, buildings and other obstacles. Additionally, the proposal would permit higher power mobile operations within geofenced areas and proposes rule revisions to facilitate the development of new and innovative narrowband internet of things (IoT)-based services.

Because white space device operations must protect other authorized services from interference, Pai also proposed increasing the minimum required separation distances for white space devices operating at higher power.

“TV white spaces can play a critical role in providing broadband services to rural and underserved areas,” said Pai. “I saw the promise of this technology in South Boston, a town in rural Virginia, where I met a student who said getting Internet access in his home was a game-changer. The FCC has taken steps to enable the use of white spaces over the years, and this new proposal would further help bridge the digital divide while protecting TV stations.”

If the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is adopted Feb. 28, the public will have the opportunity to provide feedback prior to the commission adopting final rules.

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