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

Friday, April 9, 2010

Joe Hamilla discusses TV White Spaces at the 2010 NAB Show

The National Association of Broadcasters is holding their annual NAB Show next week from April 10-15. NAB's events offer broadcasters the opportunity to network with colleagues, explore new technologies, discuss innovative strategies to build stronger businesses and address important issues. The show will consist of several conferences including Broadcast Engineering, Broadcast Management, Broader-casting and the Digital Cinema and Military & Government Summits.

Joe Hamilla, chief operating officer at Spectrum Bridge, will be presenting at NAB Show’s Broadcast Engineering Conference on Wednesday, April 14. The presentation session, “Spectrum Issues for Broadcasters” will be held from 2:00pm – 5:30pm. Joe will be the first speaker of the panel and will jumpstart the discussion with the topic of “Leveraging White Spaces and an Introduction to the New Networks Being Built with Them.”

Some of the topics to be covered in the presentation include:

• FCC process for TV White Spaces spectrum
• Timeline for TV White Space
• Allocation of TV White Spaces via database
• The Availability of TV White Spaces spectrum
• Trial Networks deployed
• The Spectrum Scarcity and Bandwidth Demand Problem
• Opportunities for TV Band license holders

Spectrum Bridge will also be available following the panel for further discussion. To register as an attendee, please visit the NAB Show website.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Message is Clear - More Spectrum Needed

Last week, Spectrum Bridge attended the CTIA Wireless exhibition in Las Vegas, NV. The prevailing message at CTIA this year was “more spectrum” in coherence with the National Broadband Plan, from femtocells to the allocation of additional spectrum bands by the FCC. The demand for spectrum extends far past the wireless industry – it is evidenced by many of the markets we serve, including: rural, municipalities, utilities, railways, and application developers. As the demand for broadband grows, along with the number of private networks, high bandwidth applications, and next generation devices; the need for maximizing spectrum access, allocation, and availability becomes key. This message is very much in line with our belief at Spectrum Bridge, Inc. (“SBI”) that demand for Broadband access is insatiable and in order to keep up with the ever-increasing demand, we must provide alternative solutions to alleviate spectrum scarcity and increase spectrum efficiency.

Attending the Andrew Seybold Awards dinner honoring the most innovative companies contributing wireless mobility products and concepts, was exciting for us to see how far the wireless industry has come and the limitless possibilities ahead of us. We were excited to receive the award for “Most Innovative Mobile Technology of 2010” for our TV White Spaces Network, as it validates the importance of our work with TV White Spaces to help support the FCC’s goals of providing more Broadband access nationwide. As the FCC noted in the NBP, our trial networks in Claudville, VA and Wilmington/New Hanover County, NC have demonstrated the promise and potential for TV white space spectrum. As we continue to perfect our skills in the TV White Spaces arena and develop new technology and software to help accommodate the growing demand for spectrum, we are excited about the future of this industry and our involvement in it.

Chris Duffus