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March 28, 2008
Dennis Wharton
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Strike Three for White Space Device

--Microsoft says newest device "unexpectedly shut down"--

WASHINGTON, DC -- NAB Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton released the following statement today upon learning that an unlicensed personal-portable prototype device submitted by Microsoft to the FCC for testing failed. This recent failure marks the third setback for proponents of the so-called 'white space' devices.

"In baseball, it's three strikes and you're out," said Wharton. "How many strikes does Microsoft get? If they can't get the device to work in the lab, how are they going to get it to work in the real world?"

The incident follows a February 2008 power failure, as well as a July 2007 FCC report, which concluded that sample prototype 'white space' devices did not accurately detect broadcast signals and caused interference to TV broadcasting and wireless microphones.

Microsoft issued the following statement (emphasis added) today:

For Immediate Release

March 28, 2008

Statement by Microsoft

REDMOND, Wash. — March 28, 2008 — The testing phase of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s white spaces rulemaking continues to provide the FCC with the data it needs to make an informed decision. Microsoft Corp. believes that the FCC’s final report will confirm that the unlicensed use of white spaces will bring exciting new as well as needed technologies such as mesh networks, broadband access in remote areas, wireless hot spots and other broadband devices and services.

Microsoft, along with other companies, took the extraordinary step of submitting test devices to the FCC to help the FCC gather information and establish final rules. The Microsoft devices were designed and developed by a third party for white spaces research purposes only and are not production or go-to-market devices. The Microsoft device has been delivering meaningful results over several weeks but unexpectedly shut down on March 26.

Although this is disappointing to us, we have every confidence that the FCC has many avenues available to finish gathering the information it needs to develop final white spaces rules and allow a variety of services and devices to effectively use the white spaces. The FCC has tremendous technical expertise and will continue to rely on its own substantive knowledge. Second, it is currently testing other devices and will be able to obtain the necessary information from those devices. It can also undertake its own testing with conventional equipment. Third, before any device enters the marketplace the FCC will put that device through its certification process and make its own determination that the device will not interfere with existing licensed users such as broadcast and wireless microphone operations.

Microsoft will continue to work with its partners in the White Spaces Coalition to provide the FCC with all the support it needs during the rule-making process, including further exploration of the recent proposal made at the FCC that reflects some of the coalition’s thinking on the use of spectrum-sensing technology and beacons.

White spaces technology will transform the way Americans access and use the Internet, regardless of where they live. We look forward to the FCC’s adoption of final rules that will enable innovators to bring new broadband products and services to the market.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


To date, 70 lawmakers have expressed concern over the use of unlicensed personal-portable devices in the broadcast spectrum, including:

Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Senator Pete V. Domenici (R-NM)
Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA)
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Rep. John Spratt (D-SC)
Rep. J. Gresham Barrett (R-SC)
Rep. Henry E. Brown (R-SC)
Rep. David Davis (R-TN)
Rep. Ric Keller (R-FL)
Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL)
Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
Rep. Vito J. Fossella (R-NY)
Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY)
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY)
Rep. Howard P. McKeon (R-CA)
Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA)
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR)
Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN)
Rep. David Scott (D-GA)
Rep. John Barrow (D-GA)
Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC)
Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC)
Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC)
Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC)
Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC)
Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC)
Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC)
Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC)
Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC)
Rep. David Price (D-NC)
Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC)
Rep. Gene Green (D-TX)
Rep. Ralph Hall (D-TX)
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX)
Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX)
Rep. John Carter (R-TX)
Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Rep. Dave Hobson (R-OH)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-OH)
Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH)
Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA)
Rep. David Scott (D-GA)
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA)
Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA)
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL)
Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN)
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV)
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO)
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT)
Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME)
Rep. Tom Allen (D-ME)
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN)
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ)

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