In an ex parte letter to the FCC, 44 rural groups, including NRTC, urged the Commission to open a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to improve the current TV white spaces rules. The Commission in recent years has opened unused channels in the broadcast TV spectrum for unlicensed communications. The rural groups suggested additional rule changes to facilitate greater use of white spaces frequencies to close the rural broadband coverage gaps.
“As network operators, equipment providers and rural broadband advocates, we are working together to provide broadband to people we could not serve without white spaces technology. We appreciate the FCC’s efforts to date to make this possible,” the groups said.
Many of the groups over the last year have been working with Microsoft Corp. and it Rural Airband Initiative to promote greater use of white spaces to increase broadband coverage. In the letter, they endorse technical rule changes Microsoft recently proposed to the Commission. They include:
- Allowing the use of higher-powered white spaces radios in rural areas that have no possibility of creating interference to broadcasters;
- Allowing higher antenna placements;
- Allowing narrowband internet-of-things devices that potentially could enhance applications, such as precision agriculture, and
- Geofencing operations for moving vehicles.