Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Council Requests FCC to Slow Digital Switchover

City Hall - On Monday, September 29th at 10:00 AM, Council Member Gale A. Brewer (D-Manhattan), Chair of the Technology in Government Committee, will hold a hearing regarding the FCC’s plans to shutdown the analog frequency in 2009, which will create a huge “white space.”

White spaces, freed radio frequencies due to technological change or unused portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, are opening up opportunities to greater internet access to consumers since the waves can penetrate through walls and travel long distances. The expected digital switchover from analog television broadcasts in February 2009 will open up a large chunk of the U.S. analog frequency for short-range networking.

Current television companies and wireless device users are concerned about the switchover, since they are still using equipment on the analog frequency of 54 MHz to 698 MHz: many wireless microphones use the 600-700 MHz. The cessation from the analogs and the interference of the white space technologies (currently being produced by major technology firms, like Microsoft and Dell) prevent many wireless microphones from working, which are heavily used in major institutions and theatres [e.g., Broadway, Lincoln Center]. Moreover, it is possible that the new white spaces gadgets can interfere with television and other wireless signals on the former frequencies.

Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member Gale A. Brewer are sponsoring a resolution asking the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] not to promulgate rules until the incumbent analog frequency devices and systems, as well as unlicensed wireless devices, are functioning properly.

The Council Technology in Government Committee will hold the hearing regarding the white spaces on Monday, September 29, 2008 at 10 AM in the Committee Room of City Hall, New York. This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend.

For further information or to sign up to speak, Samuel Wong, Legislative Aide on Technology, (212) 788-6975/(646) 648 2179 or samwong.529@gmail.com. You can also contact Shula Warren, Chief of Staff, at (212) 788-6975/(347) 668 9576 or swarren@council.nyc.gov.

In addition, on Friday, September 19, 2008 at 10 AM, the Council Technology in Government Committee is holding a hearing on Intro. 54, requiring DoITT to produce an annual technology strategy and that the mayoral agencies submit annual technology plans to DoITT for publication as an addendum to the department’s annual technology strategy. The location is in the Committee Room, City Hall, New York. For further information or to sign up to speak, please contact the staff members mentioned above.