U.S. News

Microsoft to Dispute FCC on Using Vacant TV Airwaves: Report


Microsoft on Monday will try to convince U.S. regulators that vacant television airwaves can be used for wireless services without interfering with broadcast signals, The Washington Post reported.

The unused TV airwaves would be available for other services by early 2009, when broadcasters are due to switch from analog to digital signals.

In a document it plans to file with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Microsoft disputes the agency's recent finding that prototype Internet devices caused static on existing broadcasts, the Post said.

The company said its first prototype was defective but that a new model worked successfully in a demonstration for the FCC last week, the Post said.

Microsoft, computer chipmaker Intel and other companies have been pressing the FCC to make the vacant airwaves available for use without a license, while broadcasters have expressed concerns about potential interference with their signals.

The companies hope the unlicensed airwaves could be used for a variety of wireless services, including high-speed Internet access, particularly in rural areas where such offerings can be scarce.

In 2004, the FCC proposed creating two categories of users for the airwaves: one for low-power, personal, portable devices like Wi-Fi and a second group for fixed commercial operations.

The FCC also proposed requiring that the devices include technology to identify unused spectrum and avoid interference.

The FCC has said it would set final technical requirements for devices to use those airwaves without a license by October.