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Google wants to build 'white spaces' database

If devices built to access the Internet through "white spaces" will succeed, they'll need two databases to avoid interfering with existing signals. Google has proposed building one of them.

Google has asked the Federal Communications Commission to designate it as one of the administrators of a database for "white space" devices.

For several years, Google has been among the companies urging the FCC to open up the "white spaces"--small amounts of spectrum between broadcast television channels--to unlicensed use. Google joined the White Spaces Database Group in February to help move the project along, since one of the requirements of the white spaces plan is a database that devices can use to figure out which channels are available for use.

At that time, Google's Richard Whitt, Washington telecom and media counsel, said in a blog post that "we don't plan to become a database administrator ourselves, but do want to work with the FCC to make sure that a white spaces database gets up and running." However, Google announced just such a plan Monday evening, revealing its proposal that "the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or "Commission") designate Google to be administrator of a TV bands geolocation database."

"Why are we offering to do this?" White wrote in Monday's blog post. "We continue to be big believers in the potential for this spectrum to revolutionize wireless broadband, and we think it's important for us to step forward and offer our assistance to make that vision a reality. Since launching the White Spaces Database Group last February, we've been working with other stakeholders to exchange ideas and perspectives on how to best operate a working database, and we believe we're in a strong position to build and successfully manage one."

There are two types of databases that will be needed for this project: geolocation, which Google has now proposed building, and spectrum-sensing technology. The idea behind the databases is to avoid creating interference with television broadcasts and other wireless technologies.