TV Broadcasters Oppose Microsoft, Google Proposal

    October 11, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Microsoft and Google want some of the digital TV spectrum opened to mobile devices, but executives at the four big broadcasters complain of interference and a degraded over-the-air experience.

If this were a football game, a referee would be tossing a yellow flag for interference at Google and Microsoft. Their desire to allow high speed broadband access within unused portions of the DTV spectrum has been hampered by technical problems with prototype devices interfering with DTV reception.

Those issues spurred CEOs Peter Chernin (News Corp.); Robert Iger (Walt Disney Co.); Leslie Moonves (CBS); and Jeffrey Zucker (NBC Universal) to sign off on a letter to the FCC, requesting a ban on mobile unlicensed devices that can work in the so-called white spaces of the DTV band.

Broadcasting & Cable said these broadcasters have opposed such portable “sensing” devices that can pick up unused frequencies and receive a broadband signal.

Google, Microsoft, and several other companies have backed a White Spaces Coalition favoring the use of unused spectrum to deliver high speed Internet access. The initial tests of devices found they caused interference to DTV reception, but a new batch is being tested by the FCC.

These sensing devices have to be able to tell when a DTV signal exists, so a broadband connection can be made at an unused frequency. They have the potential to bring a 10Mbyte connection to a portable device, with even higher speeds available for short range networking.