Yesterday, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to dismiss its 2008-filed petition for review of the FCC’s Unlicensed Operation in the TV Broadcast Bands Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order.

Initially, the group opposed the use of white spaces, saying they could interfere with broadcast channels. However, on April 5, the FCC adopted five petitions for reconsideration of its decisions in the Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (Third Memorandum Opinion and Order, FCC 12-36) that resulted in:

>> increased maximum height above average terrain (HAAT) for sites where fixed devices may operate;
>> modification of the adjacent channel emission limits to specify fixed rather than relative levels; and
>> slightly increased maximum permissible power spectral density (PSD) for each category of TV bands device.

“These changes will result in decreased operating costs for fixed TVBDs and allow them to provide greater coverage, thus increasing the availability of wireless broadband services in rural and underserved areas without increasing the risk of interference to incumbent services. We also are revising and amending several of our rules to better ?effectuate the Commission’s earlier decisions in this docket and to remove ambiguities,” the agency said.

“NAB has reviewed the FCC’s Third Opinion and Order and determined that it is no longer necessary for it to pursue this petition for review,” the group told the court.

Commented Harold Feld, legal director at Public Knowledge, "We commend NAB for filing to dismiss its court challenge to the FCC’s white spaces order. Assuming the court grants the motion, the last potential legal obstacle to the use of this valuable unlicensed spectrum will be removed and the innovations that are just beginning can continue to proceed with new confidence."

The Wireless Innovation Alliance also applauded the NAB’s decision to withdraw the challenge.

"The coming wave of white-space innovations in rural broadband, Wi-Fi offload, ‘smart city’ applications and machine-to-machine communications, just to name a few, will create jobs, spur investment and drive U.S. economic growth," the group said in a statement.

(For more on white spaces, read the 2Q12 issue of Communications Technology magazine, which will be posted digitally soon on the CT Web site and distributed in print at the upcoming Cable Show in Boston.)

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