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Point-free tests confirm what Ofcom already knew

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The FCC has completed tests confirming that deployment of its porn-and-cost-free network won't interfere with incumbent operators, as already established by Ofcom and Czech deployments.

The tests were completed during September, and state unequivocally that a deployment of Time Division Duplexing technology won't interfere with T-Mobile's Frequency Divisioned network lurking nearby. Licensees of the spectrum, known as Advanced Wireless Spectrum (AWS), will be allowed to deploy any technology they want, including TDD, and that worried incumbent operator T-Mobile.

These tests were demanded by T-Mobile despite the same issue having been thoroughly investigated by UK regulator Ofcom when looking at WiMAX deployments, and both technologies happily coexisting on neighbouring frequencies in the Czech Republic.

In fact, the tests were such a waste of time that two members of congress were moved to write to the chair of the FCC iterating this fact, and pointing out that the demands were little more than a delaying tactic by T-Mobile. That remains speculation, but the tests have now established that radio spectrum operates the same on both sides of the Atlantic and clears the way for the FCC to auction off the 25MHz of spectrum to anyone prepared to offer advertising-supported broadband to 50 per cent of the US population within four years.

The (very) technically minded might enjoy the full analysis direct from the FCC (pdf); but in summary, the level of interference that could be generated is not significant, regardless of the technology the auction winner decides to deploy.

It remains to be seen if anyone will be tempted to bid for the spectrum, which starts at 2155MHz but comes with significant public service guarantees including a promise to prevent users accessing inappropriate content. The economic situation has deteriorated slightly since June, when the proposals were published, and even then the business model was suspect. There's also the problem of finding a filtering technology to remove all that grot, and one that the whole USA finds acceptable. ®

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