WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to permit certain wireless devices to use vacant airwaves between active television channels as long as they do not cause interference.

"Allowing low-power wireless devices to operate in the unused portions of the television bands could be an efficient and effective use of this unused spectrum," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said at the agency's monthly open meeting.

The FCC agreed to permit the use of fixed, low-powered, wireless equipment on some unused channel frequencies and said it would conduct testing to assess interference and encouraged others to submit their findings.

The FCC said it expected to have the laboratory test results on interference by July and would set final technical requirements for the devices by October 2007.

Marketing of the devices would only be allowed after Feb. 18, 2009 when television broadcasters switch to airing their digital signals and return their old analog airwaves to the government, the FCC said.

Signals from the airwaves at issue, frequencies below 900, can easily penetrate walls, trees and other obstructions unlike the higher frequencies.




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