Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spectrum and Wireless Broadband – Where do we go from here?

While many were debating the pros and cons of net neutrality the past few weeks, the FCC subtly released a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) “Promoting More Efficient Use of Spectrum Through Dynamic Spectrum Use Technologies”. To summarize, the FCC has asked the telecommunications industry for comments on how we can better utilize “dynamic spectrum access radios and techniques” to support the expanding mobile broadband usage.

As noted in the Ars Technica blog posted last week, some of the FCC proposals under consideration include:
  • Extending the current white space device service, which relies on databases telling you what spectrum is available for use at any given moment
  • Continue to advance sensing technologies, allowing current license owners a way to lease their unused or underutilized spectrum to other parties
  • Developing technologies to group non-contiguous spectrum usage, creating more available bandwidth
Spectrum is the backbone of the telecommunications industry, the most critical component of enabling wireless communications. We cannot wait for more spectrum to become available to keep pace with consumer’s bandwidth demands while supporting existing network infrastructures. As with the wireless evolution of the past two decades, there is opportunity today for many new technologies to arise as solutions are proposed and developed for a more efficient spectrum utilization model.

So what can the industry do to improve broadband connections? At Spectrum Bridge, we support the Commission’s ideas, believing equipment flexibility, improved spectrum management and a better understanding of usage can benefit the industry today, without major upheavals or rule changes. Our four
White Space trial networks have successfully demonstrated the “database access model” works for managing shared access for unlicensed devices in the TV bands. And SpecEx has always been about creating a marketplace where holders and buyers of spectrum could come together and leverage the secondary spectrum market, enabling spectrum to flow more freely in response to economic demand. Read more about how we are continuing to improve software and services for next generation wireless networking.

And we encourage all to add comments to the
FCC Notice of Inquiry, sharing your ideas and recommendations to improve the current processes; responses are due on February 28, 2011 and can be submitted here, proceeding number 10-237.

Peter Stanforth, Chief Technology Officer

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