In a development praised by players in the computer and electronics industries, Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require the FCC to free up unused “white space” channels in the television broadcast bands for unlicensed wireless devices. Co-sponsored by Congressman Nathan Deal (R-GA), the Wireless Innovation Act of 2007 would give the FCC 180 days from the bill’s enactment (or until October 1) to complete a rulemaking that would permit usage of vacant TV spectrum on an unlicensed basis. In an order and further rulemaking proposal adopted last October, the FCC agreed to permit unlicensed operation of fixed devices in white space channels upon completion of the digital TV transition in 2009 and to seek comment on the unlicensed operation of personal or portable devices in these bands. Inslee’s bill is viewed as a companion to legislation, introduced in January by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR), that would also require the FCC to complete rulemaking proceedings on the operation of unlicensed devices in white band channels within 180 days. That bill, and the measure introduced by Inslee, also mandates the unlicensed operation of personal or portable devices as well as fixed devices. Praising the bill, the White Spaces Coalition—whose members include Microsoft, Dell, Google, Hewlett-Packard and Intel—predicted that the usage of white space spectrum “can help deliver a new generation of wireless broadband devices and services, and help ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of technological innovation.”