FCC Solicits Applications for White Space Database Administrators

The Federal Communications Commission said today it’s soliciting proposals from those looking to become administrators for TV band database managers, moving one step closer toward making white space broadband available on the unused airwaves that exist between digital TV channels.

White spaces are increasingly seen as a way to provide broadband service to underserved markets and to spur innovation and competition in a mobile arena dominated by a few major players. While white space broadband has its detractors — including those who use wireless microphones in their performances — they are increasingly seen as a way to allocate spectrum to wireless broadband that may not be dominated by tier-one mobile carriers.

While the solicitation of proposals is not unexpected — FCC Chair Julius Genachowski has continuously spoken out in favor of “the creative use of spectrum” — the move was applauded by Public Knowledge,  a tech-centric public interest group based in Washington.

“Selecting an administrator for the white spaces database is a crucial step toward bringing consumers another choice in a restrictive broadband marketplace,” said Harold Feld, director of Public Knowledge. “We expect that use of the white spaces spectrum will foster innovation and create jobs as new devices and services become available.”

Proposals for those looking to become administrators for the white spaces database are due by June 4, 2010, and the FCC will invite comments on the proposals until Feb. 3. The commission did not set a date for naming the administrators.