Wireless plan under fire

Dec 30, 2002  •  Post A Comment

A recent proposal by the Federal Communications Commission to permit consumers to use cordless telephones and other unlicensed wireless devices on broadcast spectrum could lead to interference with TV reception.
At least that was the alarm being sounded by the broadcast industry.
“The proliferation of these devices may have an adverse impact on all television receivers,” said David Donovan, president of the Association for Maximum Service Television.
An FCC spokesman said the initiative was intended to avoid interference by targeting only broadcast channels that aren’t being used in a particular area for broadcasting. “We’re talking about the white space that isn’t being used and very low power levels,” the spokesman said.
But a broadcast industry source said there’s no way for the FCC to reliably police use of low-power devices. “Given the current state of the digital transition, it would be unwise to enact policies that create interference problems for digital receivers,” Mr. Donovan said.
In a statement, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said the “smart” technology in low-power devices would allow their use “to communicate in spectral open spaces that were previously closed to development.”
But Commissioner Kevin Martin said he, like the broadcasters, is concerned about the plan. “I fear that these unlicensed devices will create additional interference problems when digital television gets under way,” he said.