FCC Eases Way for Live Video to Cellphones, PDAs

Oct 12, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission opened the door a little wider Thursday to live video broadcasts to cellphones and PDAs.

In a first action on what do with digital spectrum to be freed up in 2009 during the transition before it’s completely available, the FCC effectively told Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless that they can start providing services now if Qualcomm can avoid interfering with signals from existing TV stations.

Qualcomm’s MediaFLO USA is rolling out a service that will use a frequency for UHF TV channels 54, 55 and 56 to provide up to 20 channels of video along with downloadable video clips starting next year, and Verizon is lined up as the first retail provider.

While MediaFLO had been expected to be offered in some markets next year where there are no analog channels in that spectrum, its national availability would have been limited until 2009, in areas where there remain channels.

In Thursday’s action the FCC said Qualcomm can provide the services nationally if it can ensure interference with existing stations is limited.

Several other providers are seeking approval to launch similar services.