SOURCE: Wireless Internet Service Providers Association

broadband service, fixed wireless, digital divide

April 15, 2010 15:00 ET

WISPA Asks FCC to Optimize TV Whitespace Rules

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - April 15, 2010) -  The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) recently met with the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) to discuss implementing TV Whitespace rules changes that would help wireless ISPs (WISPs) serve millions of Americans who have no broadband service at home today. WISPA is the trade organization that represents the interests of fixed wireless broadband service providers in the U.S.

In many communities, fixed wireless ISPs (WISPs) are the only providers of broadband Internet service for homes and small businesses. Some rural communities have no fixed broadband service of any kind today. WISPs are working to bridge this "digital divide" by building fixed wireless networks and making broadband available to all Americans but many wireless frequencies are stopped by trees and other obstructions. Once the FCC approves WISPA's rules changes, the TV Whitespace frequencies will allow WISPs to provide broadband service for the first time to customers in these obstructed locations.

No Need for Spectrum Sensing

WISPA proposed that the current FCC distributed spectrum-sensing requirements be eliminated because they are unnecessary. Eliminating spectrum sensing removes the risk of either an accidental or intentional denial of service (DoS) attack against WISP networks.

Flexible Antenna Heights

WISPA asked the FCC to allow more flexibility in the placing of base station and customer antennas. This additional flexibility will allow each individual WISP to determine the best height for customer antenna installations as well as place their base station antennas higher than 100 feet when needed.

"Licensed-Lite" Operating Rules

"Licensed-lite" operating rules are currently in use in the 3650-3700 MHz band. These rules require that network operators do a frequency check before setting up a new base station and coordinate their operating frequency with nearby network operators. WISPA asked the FCC to apply these same licensed-lite rules to fixed TV Whitespace networks. Using licensed-lite rules, more network operators can coordinate their sharing of available TV Whitespace channels.

Solving the Unlicensed Microphone Problem

There are thousands of unlicensed wireless microphones that are broadcasting without permission on TV frequencies. WISPA proposed that two vacant TV Whitespace channels in each area be dedicated for non-exclusive use by these wireless microphones so that they won't interfere with WISP operators.

Richard Harnish, WISPA President, said, "We appreciate that the FCC has approved vacant TV Whitespace channels for WISP use. FCC approval of our proposed rule changes will allow WISPs to finally bring broadband service to millions of people who have no broadband service of any kind today."

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