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Google helps form 'white space' database coalition

The search giant and several other technology companies have united to help the FCC come up with a database for services in the unused slivers of spectrum.

wireless spectrum

Google is teaming up with other technology companies to develop specifications that the Federal Communications Commission can use in developing its "white space" database.

Google said earlier this week that it is joining several technology companies, including Comsearch, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Motorola and Neustar, to form a new coalition called the White Spaces Database Group, which will provide and compile into a database technical specifications for devices that will use white space spectrum.

White spaces are unused slivers of spectrum in the 700 MHz band that sit between broadcast TV channels. Google and others successfully lobbied the FCC last year to open up that spectrum for unlicensed use so that new wireless devices could access that spectrum.

In its ruling in November, the FCC set rules stating that devices using a combination of geolocation technology and spectrum-sensing technology could be approved for unlicensed white space use. Before sending or receiving data, devices will be required to access this database to determine available channels. And the device will not transmit in channels that are already known to be in use.

Technology companies such as Google, Motorola, Microsoft, and Dell had been lobbying the FCC for years to open this spectrum for unlicensed use. The hope is that the spectrum could be used to augment existing wireless services or eventually be used to create new wireless broadband services.

But TV broadcasters and wireless microphone companies have long opposed the use of this spectrum, saying it will interfere with their services. Google believes that using geolocation technology used along with spectrum sensing technologies will offer complete protection to licensed signals from harmful interference.

"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," Richard Whitt, Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, said in a blog post earlier this week. "We hope that this will unfold in a matter of months, not years."