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New Microsoft Unlicensed Device Fails


-- “It just stopped working,” says Microsoft rep --

WASHINGTON, DC -- A new prototype ’white space’ device tested by the Federal Communications Commission last week failed, losing power during the FCC’s second round of testing. The incident follows a July 2007 FCC report, which concluded that sample prototype ’white space’ devices did not accurately detect broadcast signals and caused interference to TV broadcasting and wireless microphones.

“They were running some tests on it, and it just stopped working,” Ian Ferrell, director of wireless incubation for Microsoft, told TRDaily, which first reported the device failure late Friday. The full text from TRDaily is below. The power failure was also vaguely addressed in a February 7 ex parte filed by Edmond Thomas, senior technology policy adviser to the White Spaces Coalition.

Commenting on the matter, NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said, “By failing two out of two tests at the FCC, Microsoft and the Wireless Innovation Alliance have demonstrated that unlicensed devices are not ready for prime time. This admission by ’white space’ proponents vindicates beyond doubt the interference concerns expressed by broadcasters, sports leagues, wireless microphone companies and theater operators. Completing a successful transition to digital television ought not be jeopardized by introducing risky technology that has proven to be unworkable.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) authored an op-ed published in The New York Times Saturday, expressing his concern over the use of unlicensed, personal-portable devices in spectrum designated for broadcast TV.

“Unlicensed devices, like wireless laptops and remote-controlled toys, operating in the white spaces will probably cause havoc to TV viewers, theater goers and sports fans,” wrote Nadler. “While we should encourage technical developments, we should urge the F.C.C. to proceed with caution. We cannot let these new developments undermine television service or hurt key sectors of our entertainment industry.”


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