Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Spectrum, Spectrum, Spectrum

Last week, the FCC released a notice of proposed rulemaking to repurpose a portion of the UHF and VHF bands that are currently being used by broadcast services. The long term goal is to make this spectrum available for fixed and mobile wireless communication services, including mobile broadband. The move to repurpose broadcast spectrum through voluntary incentive auctions coincides with the goals set forth in the National Broadband Plan to make more spectrum available for mobile broadband.

CTIA President, Steve Largent reiterated the need for more spectrum in a recent interview, “It really is the lifeblood of the industry…It really is the most critical element to the service that we provide.” Today, the FCC only has 50 MHz of spectrum in the pipeline that can be assigned for broadband use, which is just a fraction of the amount necessary to meet growing demands. However, in recent years, the FCC has recognized the need for a more efficient spectrum allocation model, encouraging secondary markets for spectrum, to allow for dynamic spectrum leasing, as well as releasing final rules to make the unused spectrum in the TV bands available for unlicensed use.

Although the FCC has shown its commitment to finding and freeing up other types of spectrum, Largent made a very good point in that bringing spectrum to market can often be a long and arduous process. “What a lot of people forget about is how long the process takes to get spectrum to the marketplace. The last two spectrum auctions that we had took somewhere between eight and 11 years to come to market. We simply can’t wait that long. The FCC and the president called for 500 MHz in the next 10 years and 300 MHz of that in the next five years. That is a laudable goal. We’re seeing if we can’t even get more spectrum and get it quicker.”

The process for transacting spectrum and bringing it to market can be a very lengthy process; in order to meet the growing demands from mobile users, wireless devices, and wireless access technologies that utilize spectrum, it is critical that the FCC utilizes existing solutions to enable expeditious transactions. One way to realize the FCC’s vision for more efficient and available spectrum is allow companies such as Spectrum Bridge to facilitate commercial contracts for leasing in the secondary market for spectrum. The existing rules in place for secondary markets would help to repurpose spectrum more quickly, while improving the efficiency of this finite resource.

America’s growing demand for mobile access anytime and anywhere make it necessary to find new avenues for bandwidth, in addition to utilizing alternative solutions such as secondary markets to expedite the process of bringing spectrum to market. To learn more about secondary spectrum markets, visit the Useful Links section of our website or contact us.

Joe Hamilla

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spectrum Bridge to host webinar detailing the TV White Space Rules

Spectrum Bridge recently held a webinar providing a general introduction, potential economic impact, and expected timeline of the newly available unlicensed spectrum known as TV White Spaces. To continue with our informational white spaces webinar series, we will be hosting the second webinar, Analyzing the New TV White Space Rules on November 18th, 2010 at 2:00pm ET. The detailed recordings of the first webinar can be found here.

This webinar is co-sponsored by Rini Coran, PC, a law firm specializing in the representation of telecom, media and technology clients before Congress, the FCC and in communications related transactions. From Spectrum Bridge, Peter Stanforth and Neeraj Srivastava will be presenting an overview of the low power device rules and provide insight on the database service providers. Stephen Coran from Rini Coran, PC will be presenting the high power rules and analysis from an attorney’s perspective.

A few topics to be covered during the webinar include:

  • What do the high power and low power rules mean?
  • What are the different classes of devices?
  • What are the height and power limitations?
  • What is new regarding the TV White Spaces Database Service Providers?
For additional information, or to register for the event, please click here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Roundtable discussion at Offshore Communications

On behalf of Spectrum Bridge, I had the opportunity to attend the Offshore Communications 2010 conference in Houston, Texas on November 3, 2010 as a panelist on the Communications Systems: What’s Here and What’s Next? roundtable.

The roundtable consisted of a diverse group of panelists representing a broad range of communications directors and satellite and wireless providers. One of the main topics and key issues that the panelists are facing is the bandwidth availability in each of their respective geographic regions. With new regulations and additional advances in wireless technology, the wish list of remote data applications is growing along with the bandwidth requirements to deploy them. While there is no single technology readily available to solve the problem; fiber, wireless and satellite will play a major role in supplying the necessary bandwidth to various applications.

In the What’s Next? category, the audience was eager to learn about TV White Spaces and the potential applications of this newly available spectrum. The enhanced propagation characteristics of TV White Spaces were an area of interest for many of the attendees, as it is an alternative solution to Wi-Fi to aggregate the vast amounts of data before it is backhauled to the beach.

Following the discussion, attendees had many questions regarding the usage and timeline of TV White Spaces. Most recently, Spectrum Bridge held a webinar about TV White Spaces and the expected timeline for its deployment. To watch the recording of Introducing TV White Spaces, please click here.

- Lou Eisenberg, Senior Account Manager

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spectrum Bridge Honored - Best Specialty Deployment 2010 RCR Ecosystem Award

Earlier this week we attended 4G World, an event covering next generation technologies enabling mobile network infrastructure, advanced devices, applications and content. With organizations focusing on the future of mobile broadband, Spectrum Bridge was awarded the 2010 RCR Ecosystem Award for Best Specialty Deployment.

As the recipient of this award, we were recognized for successfully demonstrating the best engineering, design and installation practices; delivery of connectivity objectives; and effectiveness of investment in utilizing TV White Spaces spectrum in a specialty deployment.

The award honored our fourth major trial network deployment at the Hocking Valley Community Hospital in Logan, Ohio, showcasing how TV White Spaces is well suited for the healthcare industry. The applications deployed in this trial network:
  • Support wireless internet connectivity throughout the hospital

  • Provide more efficient wireless transmissions of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) staff to Hospital Emergency Administration Staff

  • Supply additional security for hospital operations

  • Enable patients and visitors to access the internet from their mobile devices

Read more about how Spectrum Bridge’s breakthrough software and services is providing wireless bandwidth for next generation wireless networking.

Sheri Ridenour

Business Development Manager

Monday, October 18, 2010

TV White Spaces Webinar Series

The recent FCC decision to allow use of TV White Spaces spectrum on an unlicensed basis has generated wide interest among IT & Telecom companies as well as end users. Spectrum Bridge will be hosting a webinar series discussing TV White Spaces and what it means for the entire wireless industry, from radio manufacturers to the end user. The first webinar in the series is focused on a general overview about TV White Spaces and will discuss a wide array of topics and questions including:
  • What are TV White Spaces?
  • How does it compare to solutions already available?
  • What is the economic value TV White Spaces can provide?
  • What is the expected timeline moving forward?
WHO: Hosted by Spectrum Bridge and The Brattle Group

Presenters Include:

Peter Stanforth, CTO, Spectrum Bridge, Inc.

Coleman Bazelon, Principal, The Brattle Group

Neeraj Srivastava, VP of Marketing and Business Development, Spectrum Bridge, Inc.

WHAT: TV White Spaces Webinar series: Introducing TV White Spaces

October 28, 2010 at 2:00pm ET

Registration and additional information about the presenters can be found by clicking

The second webinar in the series will be focused on the technical aspects about the newly available rules and the certification process that follows. More information about the second webinar in the series will be available shortly. To register for the event, Introducing TV White Spaces, please click here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Unanimous Decision by FCC to use TV White Spaces

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held its open commission meeting in Washington DC, with the decision to authorize the usage of TV White Spaces, at the top of their agenda. After two years of discussions, the FCC unanimously voted to approve the use of this unlicensed spectrum, the unused TV broadcast channels made available by the transition from Analog to Digital TV last year.

Specific items were addressed during this meeting and decisions made included:

  • There was no spectrum sensing requirement mandated on the TV White Spaces Devices, though the Commission encouraged use and development of the technology as confirmed by Julius Knapp’s statement, "[This begins a] New Era of Innovation and Investment for Unlicensed Devices".
  • In every market,wireless microphones would be reserved as a protected entity. Commissioner Baker supported this decision stating "First rule of dynamic spectrum allocation; do no harm [to incumbent spectrum holders]".
  • Large wireless microphone users can register with the Commission for protected entity status in a White Spaces database for a specific time, place and duration as long as channels above 7 are in use.

Spectrum Bridge and our Partner’s accomplishments, regarding our White Spaces trial networks in Claudville, VA, Wilmington, NC, Plumas Sierra, CA and Logan, OH, were noted by the Commissioners as driving this order to this decision point today. It was also stated that the TV White Spaces technology can and will be used in other unlicensed as well as licensed bands and will be a road map for future technology as well as U.S. spectrum allocation policy.

Most noticeably left to the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) for further discussions were the awarding of the TV White Spaces Database Administrators and TV White Spaces usage regarding border restrictions with Canada and Mexico.

Chairman Genachowski summed up the discussions stating “TV White Spaces is about making the US more globally competitive." Spectrum Bridge’s next deployment utilizing its Spectrum Sharing technology will explore the global potential of TV White Spaces spectrum, enabling new technology and providing an alternative solution to meet the increasing worldwide need for broadband spectrum. To learn more about Spectrum Bridge’s past trial networks, or to stay up to date on future deployments, visit http://www.spectrumbridge.com.

Chris Duffus, Vice President of Corporate Development

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Applications for TV White Spaces in the Latest Deployment

Spectrum Bridge has announced its fourth major TV White Spaces network trial utilizing the vacant spectrum between existing TV channels known as TV White Spaces. This particular deployment, done in conjunction with Google and the Hocking Valley Community Hospital, is important for not only Spectrum Bridge, but the entire wireless industry as it demonstrates how TV White Spaces can provide cost effective broadband access for healthcare applications.

The trial network at the Hocking Valley Community Hospital showcases that there are alternative ways of enhancing health care provider’s connectivity for critical wireless data transfers. To improve broadband connectivity throughout the Logan, Ohio community, a wireless data link was established on a local ISP tower approximately two miles away from the Logan-Hocking County Health Department, providing non-line-of-sight broadband coverage to the health department and other public areas.

There is now Wi-Fi throughout the Hocking Valley Community Hospital as well as outdoor video surveillance providing additional security for hospital operations. A portable TV White Spaces network was also deployed for the Hocking County Emergency Medical Services that allows first responder’s to wirelessly transfer data directly from their emergency vehicles to EMS data systems inside.

The first three trial networks by Spectrum Bridge and our partners demonstrated that the unlicensed spectrum can go further and penetrate walls better than that of some licensed spectrum. The networks have also demonstrated long range broadband using middle and last mile connectivity to residents of the communities. They have also shown that Smart City’s and Smart Grid’s can be implemented using unlicensed frequencies as a cost-effective solution to rural cooperatives and wireless internet service providers. For more information on Spectrum Bridge’s deployments, click here.

- Neeraj Srivastava, VP of Marketing and Business Development

Friday, September 10, 2010

Can Database-Driven Cognitive Radios Solve the Spectrum Crisis?

There is a perceived spectrum scarcity issue facing the wireless industry today. Most allocated spectrum is entirely spoken for, which reinforces the myth that we are running out of spectrum for wireless communications. A simple spectral analysis of commercial spectrum bands indicates that there is up to 90% of unused spectrum at any given time or place. Craig Mathias, author of the white paper Rethinking Spectrum Scarcity – Database-Driven Cognitive Radio, says that “We actually have access to vast quantities of spectrum in any given geographic location, and, given natural signal strength fading due to the inverse power law, we can further multiply efficiency via the reuse of spectrum over distance.”

One solution that Craig proposes towards solving the spectrum crisis is that of a database-driven cognitive radio approach. Cognitive radios are radios that are, “capable of transmitting and receiving across channels covering a potentially very wide range of frequencies.” By utilizing a database-driven networking approach, these radios will be the first step towards efficiently utilizing the unused or idle spectrum at any given point in time.

One example of an area where database-driven cognitive radios can be effective is in the TV White Spaces spectrum. The FCC is proposing that devices operating in these unlicensed frequencies will need to be certified against a TV White Spaces database to ensure that there are no interference issues. Deploying a database-driven cognitive radio in a band like this, which spans from 54MHz to 698MHz, provides a dynamic network approach to allocating spectrum.

TV White Spaces are a prime example of how cognitive radios can communicate with a database, thus enabling the radio to determine the appropriate frequency to operate on without any human interaction. In the future, we can foresee cognitive radios operating across multiple frequencies in different bands, helping to alleviate the perceived spectrum scarcity. For more information on Database-Driven Cognitive Radios, click here.

- Joe Hamilla

Friday, September 3, 2010

Coming Soon - FCC to Deliver Final Rules for TV White Spaces

TV White Spaces, the unlicensed spectrum between television bands, has been a hot topic since the switch from analog to digital TV back in June 2009. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, author Amy Schatz says “Technology and telecommunications companies could soon get access to unused TV airwaves, allowing them to introduce new wireless gadgets and services, under rules that Federal Communications Commission officials are close to putting into final form.” The FCC is expected to vote on the "TV White Spaces Second Memorandum Opinion and Order" on September 23, 2010.

The announcement is long overdue for industry stakeholders such as broadcasters and wireless providers who have been waiting for the FCC to open up the access to this unlicensed spectrum since 2002. Industry leaders such as Cisco and Motorola will now have the ability to certify devices that can operate in these frequencies, ultimately leading the way for the first commercial launch of the TV White Spaces marketplace.

Allowing the spectrum to be delivered on an unlicensed basis allows companies to further demonstrate alternative solutions to alleviating the “spectrum scarcity” issue facing the wireless industry, while still helping to achieve the goals of the National Broadband Plan. The TV White Spaces frequencies will need to be managed by a database that ensures devices will not interfere among one another. Database driven networks open the door for innovative solutions regarding the acquisition and distribution of spectrum assets. For more information on spectrum sharing through databases, click here.

Spectrum Bridge has already demonstrated three of the nation’s first network trials that are still fully operable on experimental licenses from the FCC. The first network was deployed in Claudvile, Virginia and provided broadband access to residents and businesses in the community. The second deployment in Wilmington, North Carolina, demonstrated that the unlicensed spectrum can be used to further enhance “Smart City” applications such as remote water monitoring, security and Wi-Fi access to the city park, as well as traffic monitoring for public safety. The third trial was launched in Plumas-Sierra County exhibiting the usability of this spectrum for "Smart Grid" applications. To read the success stories highlighting the applications used in each of the three network trials mentioned, click here.

Be sure to check back next week for information on a fourth network launch using the unlicensed TV White Spaces spectrum.

- Andrew Pielack

Monday, August 16, 2010

Andrew Seybold helps validate Intelligent Spectrum Management using TV White Spaces

In a recently released whitepaper, Andrew Seybold, a leading authority on technology and trends shaping the world of wireless mobility, discusses his views on the availability of additional spectrum for wireless broadband communications. The whitepaper provides insights on the total addressable market for Intelligent Spectrum Management, which utilizes databases to manage spectrum sharing technologies for both licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

Using a database approach to assign devices to particular frequencies “makes a lot of sense” says Seybold. Rather than additional technology having to be built into each new radio, “the system relies on database technology that can track spectrum in a given area and assign spectrum for systems that require communications on an as-needed basis.” This is the very same approach that Spectrum Bridge is currently demonstrating in three separate experimental trials in the U.S. utilizing unlicensed TV White Spaces spectrum.

As stated in the Rysavy Research Industry Report, the demand for spectrum will soon exceed network capacity for wireless carriers. Seybold reiterates this view stating “the wide-area networks will not be able to meet the demand of the coming years.” However, he believes that TV White Spaces can be used to help alleviate and off-set some of the network traffic, “This new spectrum provides the ideal platform for longer-range, but still local, wireless broadband services and will be used for bridging gaps between wired, cable, and fiber connections and locations that cannot be economically served by either wide-area or Wi-Fi systems.” In addition to alleviating network traffic, TV White Spaces can help to provide additional services to unserved and underserved communities, supporting the FCC National Broadband Plan to provide rural America with broadband access.

What appears to be most intriguing is that the central database approach to spectrum management goes above and beyond the TV White Spaces by using database architecture that can essentially evolve to support both unlicensed and licensed spectrum. For more information about Spectrum Bridge and multiple spectrum sharing technologies, click here.

-Christian Duffus

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spectrum Sharing Through Databases

A recent paper written by a group of Stanford engineers explores the idea of "stitching together" all available wireless networks, allowing users to move freely between spectrum and networks owned by different cellular and WiFi providers, helping to improve the efficiency of unused spectrum. This approach would enable companies to "share" spectrum from other providers and reroute their traffic load during peak hours, making their network more efficient.

Many of the concepts are closer to reality than the paper suggests. In fact, Spectrum Bridge has developed multiple spectrum sharing technologies and solutions based on existing and upcoming FCC regulations. Our creation of a proprietary TV White Spaces Database, allowing anyone to locate available White Spaces, demonstrates the concept of spectrum sharing through the use of a database. We expect the FCC to complete the rule making on White Spaces this year, and products and services based on this concept will quickly enter the marketplace.

In partnership with WISPA, and the wireless industry, we developed the UDIA database, another example of spectrum sharing. This solution identifies potential device interference with Terminal Doppler Weather Radars (TDWRs) in the 5 GHz band. By providing a way for network operators to "share the air", we have opened up the market for certified equipment use in the shared TDWR and UNII frequencies.

Universal Spectrum Access allows us to leverage the secondary market for spectrum and utilize dynamic spectrum databases to make bandwidth more widely available. By allowing multiple devices to operate in the same band, Spectrum Bridge is able to provide a more efficient spectrum sharing environment. For example, this database could allow two entities to share spectrum in a deterministic way - the first entity, a school could use the available spectrum for distance learning from 8 am to 4 pm on school days. The second entity, a utility company, could then utilize the same spectrum from 12 am to 2 am for remote meter readings, creating a more efficient utilization of spectrum.

Our solutions support many of the National Broadband Plan goals outlined by the FCC, and specifically address the Presidential Memorandum, "Unleashing the Wireless Broadband Revolution", in which President Obama spoke to the need for the more efficient use of existing spectrum and advanced spectrum sharing technologies in order to expand wireless broadband access. As we continue to demonstrate the capabilities of our spectrum sharing technologies, we look forward to updating you on our findings. (To learn more about spectrum sharing, click here)

- Peter Stanforth, CTO

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spectrum Bridge Database Solution facilitates Spectrum sharing in 5GHz Band

Spectrum Bridge has partnered with the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) creating the UNII Device Interference Advisor (UDIA). The UDIA is a spectrum database solution that provides network operators in the Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (UNII) frequencies (5.47-5.725 GHz) an easy way to search and find whether their towers potentially interfere with Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) systems.

There are currently 47 TDWR systems located nationwide; operators and installers are being encouraged to voluntarily register and manage their device information in the online database. UDIA was developed to promote cooperation between the federal agencies including the National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the wireless industry and to ensure the safe and interference free operation of the FAA’s TDWR network.

Mitigating interference issues between unlicensed wireless devices operating in a frequency band shared with TDWRs makes available approximately 300 MHz of previously unusable spectrum. Efficiently sharing this spectrum not only helps meet the demands outlined in the FCC National Broadband Plan, it also supports Spectrum Bridge’s Universal Spectrum Access vision. Additionally, equipment manufacturers and the wireless industry may also look ahead to the certification of new U-NII equipment. For more information on the release of the database powered by Spectrum Bridge, click here.

- Peter Stanforth, CTO

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spectrum Bridge and GE partner to provide solutions for mission critical network deployments

Spectrum Bridge recently announced a relationship with GE Energy, a leader in advanced communications systems for the Utility, Oil & Gas, Water/Wastewater and Heavy Industrial markets, to offer a new industrial data networking solution for use in mission critical applications.

GE Energy and Spectrum Bridge have partnered to help certify the MDS SD2 radio which is now able to operate in the 216-222MHz frequency range of spectrum. The new wireless network solution utilizes the licensed 218-219 MHz (Interactive Video & Data Service) band of spectrum, ideal for applications which require long range links, transmission through dense foliage, and building penetration.

Several existing licenses of IVDS including 6 of the Top 10 NFL markets are currently available on SpecEx.com. The IVDS spectrum is considered ideal for industrial wireless networking solutions supporting multiple applications including:

  • Smart Grid
  • Smart Meter
  • Distribution Automation SCADA
  • Remote PLC & Measurement devices
  • Water/wastewater control and Remote Monitoring

Expanding the use of this previously underutilized and unencumbered spectrum into the industrial enterprise markets demonstrates Spectrum Bridge’s core business of providing greater availability and access to spectrum bandwidth and the efficient allocation within a wireless network. For more information, click here.

- Sheri Ridenour, Senior Account Manager

Monday, July 12, 2010

Connecting America through Technology

As the FCC begins to take on the action items from the National Broadband Plan, it is clear to see that we are making some progress towards fulfilling the four key goal areas (View progress on the Proposed 2010 Key Broadband Action Agenda Items):

  • Maximizing consumer benefit and fostering competition
  • Creating strong and secure public safety communications networks
  • Accelerating Universal Broadband Access and adoption
  • Promoting broadband infrastructure and innovation

The president’s commitment to make available 500 MHz of Federal and commercial spectrum over the next 10 years is a positive step towards building the necessary infrastructure needed to connect the country. Although this spectrum will certainly help to offload the demand for bandwidth over the next 10 years, will it be enough to keep up with the demand from new devices on the market?

In this age of smartphones, netbooks and other innovative wireless devices, demand for bandwidth is at an all time high. Some estimates indicate that over the next five years we will see an increase in wireless data between 20 and 45 times 2009 levels. In order to meet the growing demand for spectrum, it is necessary to seek out a hybrid solution – combining more efficient spectrum use and technology to cost-efficiently address the issue of spectrum scarcity.

In a fact sheet from the White House, it states: “… new technologies have the potential to free up spectrum from many of its existing uses. In combination with regulatory changes, new and emerging technologies can facilitate the repackaging, reallocation, and even sharing of spectrum. Reallocating spectrum to its most valuable use promises to be a win-win effort – creating value that not only spurs new innovations and creates new jobs, but also benefits existing spectrum users by allowing them to raise funds for transformative new investments.”

Spectrum Bridge is leading the way in terms of bringing new technology to the market to help foster innovation and to provide broadband solutions to previously unserved and underserved areas. As we deploy trial white space networks to demonstrate the capabilities of TV white spaces spectrum, we continue to realize the potential of this newly available spectrum. This month, our COO, Joe Hamilla will be presenting at the IEEE 802.19 Wireless Coexistence Working Group meeting to present our experiences with deploying trial TV White Spaces networks. Check back soon for his insights from this workshop!

Richard Licursi, CEO

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Increasing Spectrum Efficiency Through the Secondary Market

With the release of the National Broadband Plan, there have been many discussions about what needs to be done in order to accommodate the need for additional spectrum given the finite supply of resources. While we are taking steps in the right direction as far as reallocating additional spectrum for commercial use through the radio spectrum inventory act, these bands are slated to be released over the next 10 years – in which time, the already overwhelming demand for bandwidth is expected to surpass the amount of spectrum available. However, these numbers do not necessarily take into account the inefficiency of existing spectrum use. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, FCC Chairman Genachowski said, “We’ve got to work on spectrum policies that generate greater efficiency. For example, creating new and better markets for secondary markets in spectrum…Literally trading spectrum.”

At Spectrum Bridge, we understand the importance of utilizing a secondary market to help increase the efficiency of existing spectrum resources – there simply is not enough bandwidth for all of the applications consumers utilize on a day-to-day basis. In an effort to help bring more spectrum to the market and help to solve the spectrum scarcity issue, we filed a proposal with the FCC recommending two alternatives to the existing process of auctioning off licensed spectrum.
• The FCC lists the spectrum on an on-line secondary market exchange at the current market value, allowing for competitive bidding.
• The FCC proceeds with an auction as proposed, raising the minimum bid to the fair market value. Once the auction is completed, list all unsold licenses on an online secondary market exchange to allow for competitive bidding.

Both of these alternatives would promote access to unused and underutilized spectrum, consistent with the National Broadband Plan recommendations.

What’s the difference between holding a spectrum auction and placing it on an electronic exchange?

As the FCC stated in the NBP, “The goal of the FCC’s current secondary market policies is to eliminate regulatory barriers that might hinder access to, and permit more efficient use of, valuable spectrum resources.” While the auction process has been in place for many years, it is not necessarily the most efficient way to transact spectrum. The existing process hinders the creation of a competitive marketplace that an online exchange can address. In many cases, valuable spectrum resources that are auctioned off are not efficiently utilized after purchase, but may sit idle until the next spectrum auction. By taking spectrum off of the auction block, and placing it directly in front of buyers on an electronic spectrum exchange, a larger, more competitive buying pool is created.

To read our comments to the FCC regarding maximizing spectrum efficiency through the use of a secondary market for spectrum, click here.

- Joe Hamilla, COO

Friday, June 25, 2010

Delivering Smart Grid Solutions with TV White Spaces

Partnering with Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative and Telecommunications (PSREC) and Google, Spectrum Bridge deployed the nation's first "Smart Grid" wireless network trial using TV White Spaces. This marks the third successful White Spaces network solution deployed by Spectrum Bridge and continues to demonstrate alternative technology to help alleviate the perceived spectrum scarcity crisis.

In the Plumas County scenario, PSREC was investigating technologies to find a cost-effective solution to meet their challenges of providing rural broadband connectivity for customers over difficult terrain. TV White Spaces were a natural fit for providing an alternative solution because of the excellent propagation characteristics. "Plumas, Lassen and Sierra Counties are located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and present some very difficult challenges with respect to wireless coverage. The ability to use White SPace has proven to be an effective option for dealing with difficult terrain and offers another option for wireless connectivity," stated Lori Rice, PSREC's Chief Operating Officer.

Spectrum Bridge was able to help bring rural broadband connectivity to the PSREC customers using Spectrum Bridge's TV White Space database, which assigns non-interfering frequencies to white space devices. In addition, PSREC improved their System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications, and upgraded their Smart Grid implementation with the addition of Google PowerMeter technology deployed to select residents in Plumas-Sierra County.

With the TV White Spaces technology, companies facing connectivity challenges have another option available for wireless rural broadband access. As we await the FCC's finalized White Spaces rules, we continue to move forward by developing new technology and software to help accomodate the growing demand for spectrum.

- Neeraj Srivastava, VP of Business Development

Thursday, June 17, 2010

TV White Spaces Summit - Recap

On June 15th, 2010, the Wireless Innovation Forum hosted a TV White Spaces Summit in Washington DC. Sponsored by Spectrum Bridge, Inc and TV Band Service, the event was well represented by key industry stakeholders. The meeting opened with a keynote by the Honorable Meredith Attwell Baker. Her message was clear stating that, “TV White Spaces could afford even greater promise to open doors to further innovation” and that she hoped, “we will be able to come together on these issues as well – sooner rather than later.”

The informative assembly included topics such as Commercialization Status, Applications Focus, Database Focus, Component Vendors, and proposed Changes to Current TV White Space rules. Some of the issues brought up for discussion included sensing requirements and its effect on the cost of consumer devices, the coexistence of wireless microphones and TV White Spaces, and finally, the timeframe for the FCC’s deliberation of White Space regulations and database management providers. The major concern is that while the market is ready, the FCC’s lengthy deliberation will cost TV White Space innovators their valuable position as leaders in the global marketplace for TV White Spaces. Commissioner Baker mentioned this predicament in her keynote, stating that, “In addition I find it a little ironic, and a little regretful, that other regulators, notably in the EU, as well as in countries like Singapore, are poised to act in an area where we once took the lead but have not been able to act since.”

The sense of urgency for the FCC rules to be finalized regarding TV White Spaces was also highlighted in a letter to the FCC on Monday by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) urging the FCC to “prioritize action on white spaces”. Their letter went on to say, “As you know, spectrum below 1 Gigahertz is both scarce and valuable…Due to the propagation characteristics of the frequencies, unlicensed broadband devices will be able to cover a far wider service area in rural areas than the range in which unlicensed devices operate today thus providing an opportunity to narrow the ‘digital divide’ that unfortunately continues to exist.” At the Summit, WISPA gave a statistic that 50% of their community cannot be serviced today due to geographic limitations such as trees, dense foliage, and mountainous terrains. They also spoke of the new “digital divide” in which urban populations today benefit from having unlimited broadband access for streaming video, social networking, research, education, etc, while rural populations have limited access to broadband and can only do certain things like check email or surf the web. While rural broadband and narrowing the digital divide is just one example of the need for broadband, it has become more clear that TV White Spaces can help fill the gap.

Community leaders from the deployed white spaces network in Wilmington/New Hanover County, NC, Mayor Bill Saffo and Chairman Jason Thompson, were also in attendance to share their insights and experiences. Mayor Saffo of Wilmington stated that the major benefit he sees regarding TV White Spaces availability is in regards to the Public Safety sector. Public safety is the biggest cost to Wilmington at 80% of the general fund budget. However, TV White Spaces have allowed the city to more effectively manage and allocate their resources on a federal, state and local level through the use of streaming live video to help monitor events in the community. Jason Thompson, Chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners reiterated the benefits that TV White Spaces has had on their community, allowing them to safely monitor their parks and significantly reduce energy costs in excess of $800,000 annually.
In addition to various panels throughout the Summit, Julius P. Knapp II, Chief of the FCC’s Office of Engineering & Technology, reiterated the Commission’s progress in finalizing the rules and database applicant’s for TV White Spaces. As planned, the FCC will be meeting in the third quarter to discuss concerns brought up over sensing and wireless microphones and to finalize TVWS regulations.

Stay tuned for video clips from the Summit!

- Joe Hamilla, COO

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mickey DeChellis discusses White Spaces and Smart Grid Apps - UTC Telecom 2010

The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) is holding their annual event “UTC Telecom 2010” next week on May 24-26, 2010. This event provides the attendees the opportunity to hear from industry experts on a wide variety of issues that impact their business, including the legal and regulatory aspects, in order to best prepare for the future. Attendees also have the opportunity to meet vendors in their industry, view on-site demonstrations of new products and services, and generate and maintain business and partner relationships. As an active member of the UTC, for the second year in a row, Spectrum Bridge will have a presence at the UTC Telecom being held in Indianapolis, IN.
Mickey DeChellis, Director of Sales & Business Development, will be on the panel discussion entitled: “White Spaces Networks Solution for Reliable Smart Grid Apps? – What’s working now” along with representatives from Motorola and the UTC. The panel will be held at the Smart Grid & Wireless Symposium at 4:30pm in room 106 on Tuesday May 25, 2010. The presentation will be focused on the unlicensed TV spectrum known as “white spaces” which offer potentially hundreds of Megahertz at frequencies with excellent propagation characteristics benefiting Utilities and Telco’s.
An additional benefit of attending the session will include real world examples currently being used with the unlicensed spectrum for Smart Grid and Smart City applications. Mickey DeChellis will be available for further discussion before and after the panel session to answer any questions. To view the UTC Telecom 2010 schedule at a glance, please click here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Illuminate the Wireless Magic - RCA 2010 Recap

Last week, we attended the Rural Cellular Association’s Annual Convention in Las Vegas to showcase TV White Spaces and its potential for mobile applications. Among the many questions we received regarding our deployed experimental networks and TV White Spaces, one question was clearly on everyone’s mind:

“How will the availability of TV White Spaces change the marketplace?”
As the wireless marketplace continues to grow and evolve from traditional voice services to a complex ecosystem supporting Smartphones and an array of mobile applications, carriers are beginning to realize that innovation is necessary to meet the growing demands for bandwidth. Network expansion is key to the success of these companies. However, with a finite amount of spectrum available, and an exponential demand for bandwidth, carriers are left with very few cost-effective options.

The National Broadband Plan addresses this dilemma of spectrum availability and has made several propositions to ensure that the wireless marketplace can support this demand. In Section 5.12 of the NBP, the FCC references TV White Spaces stating that: “The FCC should move expeditiously to conclude the TV White Spaces proceeding.” The availability of TV White Spaces will provide a cost-effective alternative; giving carriers, private enterprises, utilities, and others the opportunity to expand or deploy networks to fulfill this growing demand.

Favorable propagation characteristics and low cost of deployment makes TV White Spaces a great solution for a multitude of applications such as rural broadband, telemetry, SCADA, Smart City and Smart Grid solutions. While the FCC continues to finalize the rules for TV White Spaces and deliberate on who will be named TV White Space Database Providers, it is important to realize that early adopters of this innovative technology will be able to capitalize on the vast market opportunities that lie ahead. Follow our success with our initial TV White Spaces network deployments in Claudville, VA and Wilmington/New Hanover County, NC. To learn more about TV White Spaces, read our FAQ doc.

- Sheri Ridenour, Senior Account Manager

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spectrum Scarcity: Can Technology Bridge the Gap?

The release of the National Broadband Plan last month has sparked many debates, many of which pertain to the need for more spectrum and how the FCC should go about obtaining additional spectrum to keep up with rising demands. One of the ways in which the FCC has proposed to free up bandwidth is through a "Mobile Future Auction". This proposal would reallocate TV broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband use through a voluntary auction by broadcast companies, giving them the opportunity to monetize their excess spectrum capacity. However, this proposal has generated backlash from broadcasters, and in a speech at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention this week, FCC Chairman Genachowski reassured broadcasters and highlighted on the fact that the FCC does not need "all, most, or even very many licensees to participate" in order to meet the demands for more spectrum. However, in an interview last week, Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon, said that he believes advances in technology will be able to offset a spectrum shortage. The question then is, do we need broadcasters to give up spectrum, or can technology bridge the gap to supply more spectrum?
Today, anywhere between 80 and 90% of spectrum goes underutilized, a surprising number considering the capacity demands of mobile networks. The need for mobile broadband has increased exponentially over the past few years, as mobile internet begins to exceed desktop internet usage. As we've discussed in previous blogs, spectrum is an extremely finite resource, and increasing demands for spectrum through the use of new applications has put many carriers under pressure to quickly build out their networks to keep up with demand. With the huge influx of smartphones to the mobile marketplace, carriers are struggling to keep up with networks that were underbuilt and overutilized from the start.

At Spectrum Bridge, we believe that technology can help alleviate, and even solve the problem of spectrum scarcity without resorting to having to find a lot more spectrum. Although the reallocation of TV wireless spectrum would certainly help to supply additional bandwidth to wireless networks, it is not necessarily the only solution to the spectrum crisis. Through the use of alternative solutions, such as secondary markets to improve existing spectrum efficiency and innovative technology such as TV white spaces, we believe that it is possible to cost-efficiently address the spectrum scarcity issue without affecting current TV broadcast services. Secondary markets and TV white spaces networks can help to ensure that wireless operators can meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services through the utilization of a hybrid solution of both technology and existing spectrum.

- Joe Hamilla, COO