"White Space" testing at stadiums

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The FCCannounced that it will perform field tests on protoypes of so-called “white space” devices at at least one sports venue sometime during the next month, as part of an effort to determine whether such devices interfere with wireless microphones used at games.

The move marks something of a victory for the NFL, ESPN and other groups that had written to the FCC requesting that tests be performed at a stadium.

Several companies including Google, Microsoft and Intel have pushed for the FCC to allow for new unlicensed devices that operate using the unused spectrum leftover from over the air television, also known as white space. There has been some cocerrn that the new devices would render useless existing wireless microphones and headsets, such as those used by coaches and broadcasters during football games.

The NFL and ESPN had recommended the use of FedEx Field in Landover or M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, but the FCC did not announce the facility at which it would perform the tests. Industry sources said the commission will likely keep it a secret ahead of time to protect the integrity of the tests.

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