White Space

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No Spectrum Shortage, Just an Allocation Problem

As a new study from Citi Investment Research & Analysis make clear, the US does not have a spectrum shortage. We've just allowed a relatively small number of carriers to control the spectrum. ... Perhaps if we had an effective "use it or lose it" policy in place, or a heavy tax on unused spectrum a more vibrant market for this spectrum would emerge. more

New Technology Brings Wi-Fi to TV Antenna

Josh Taylor reporting in ZDNet: "The CSIRO will tomorrow unveil a breakthrough in wireless technology that will allow multiple users to upload content at the same time while maintaining a data transfer rate of 12 megabits per second (Mbps), all over their old analog TV aerial. The technology, named Ngara, allows up to six users to occupy the equivalent spectrum space of one television channel (7 megahertz) and has a spectral efficiency of 20 bits per second per hertz..." more

FCC Proposes Super Wifi Networks Across the U.S.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing the creation of "Super WiFi" networks across the United States providing free, highspeed, long-range WiFi networks, according to a report from the Washington Post. more

iPhone, Android, 700 MHz: What Maximizes Wireless Innovation?

At the Emerging Communications Conference eComm 2008, I'm moderating a panel "Wireless Innovation, with or without operators." This will be a discussion -- smart people from differing camps responding to (hopefully) probing questions from yours truly, and the audience. Points of view represented include Google Android, J2ME/JavaFX Mobile, iPhoneWebDev.com, Skype and Trolltech Qtopia (Nokia), plus Chris Sacca, formerly head of Google's wireless initiatives. I've been thinking about subjects and questions for the panel. As a start, I'll set down my current views, then seek others' views and questions. more

Free, Slow, Censored Internet: A Bad Idea

The FCC is looking for an organization to provide free, slow, and censored Internet access. The censorship apparently would include email as well as websites. According to an article in today's Wall Street Journal: "Outgoing Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is pushing for action in December on a plan to offer free, pornography-free wireless Internet service to all Americans, despite objections from the wireless industry and some consumer groups [nb. and from me]... The winning bidder would be required to set aside a quarter of the airwaves for a free Internet service [nb. the WSJ hasn't got that part quite right]." more

Unlicensed Wireless Broadcasting Spectrum in the USA

New developments that have been announced by the FCC in the United States have rekindled the decade-old debate on the use of the so-called 'white spaces' in broadcast spectrum that are to be used for telecoms purposes. In September 2010, the FCC adopted a Second Memorandum Opinion and Order that updated the rules for unlicensed wireless devices that can operate in broadcast television spectrum at locations where that spectrum is unused by licensed services. This unused TV spectrum is commonly referred to as television 'white spaces'. The rules allow for the use of unlicensed TV devices in the unused spectrum to provide broadband data and other services for consumers and businesses. more

The FCC White Space Regulations: Pretty Good at First Look

My prediction is that LTE and WiMAX are toast. The new great thing will be WRANs (wireless regional area networks). WRAN's will extend and eventually subsume WiFi. The detailed regulations which implement the FCC decision to free the spectrum formerly known as TV white spaces have now been released. They look pretty good from the point of view of someone who believes the unlicensed use of this spectrum has the potential to make a huge difference in the way the world communicates. more

Only Structural Change Can Save the Mobile Industry

I regularly bring this issue forward, similar to the discussion in relation to the structural separation of the fixed networks, which I began just over a decade ago. What we are seeing in the mobile industry is an infrastructure and a spectrum crunch. The amount of spectrum needed to satisfy people's demand from mobile phones, tablets and soon a range of other smart devices is limitless. Mobile carriers are scrambling for spectrum... more

A Look at How Google, Verizon and the FCC Talks are Playing Out

Sam Gustin reporting in DailyFanance: "As Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Google forge ahead with highly publicized new plans to stream high-speed content like movies and TV shows to your living room, smartphone, telecom and cable giants like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast (CMSCA) have been intensely lobbying to maintain control over the broadband pipes they spent billions to build. Comcast is going so far as to buy a rich content factory, NBC Universal, a deal that would create a $35 billion media and delivery juggernaut." more

Universal White Spaces: Moving Beyond the TV Bands

The FCC's recent decision allowing license-exempt access to TV White Spaces, i.e. unused TV channels, is a small but very important step in spectrum policy. But, more important than the TV bands, is the policy approach and the fact that it was adopted in the face of extreme lobbying by well established vested interests. more

FCC Approves White Space Usage for "Super Wi-Fi" Technologies

In a unanimous vote today, the FCC has given a green light for the use of "white spaces" in order to deliver broadband connections as super "WiFi". From today's announcement: "The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to free up vacant airwaves between TV channels -- called "white spaces" -- to unleash a host of new technologies, such as "super Wi-Fi," and myriad other diverse applications. This is the first significant block of spectrum made available for unlicensed use in more than 20 years. TV white space spectrum is considered prime real estate because its signals travel well, making it ideally suited for mobile wireless devices." more

The New Clearwire

The new Clearwire could be game-changing, but the rules of the game may not be quite as Clearwire presents them. I have been wondering since last July whether something significant would happen in the Google/Sprint world. The deal announcement earlier this weekseems to be that key development... In a nutshell, Sprint will contribute its substantial spectrum licenses in the 2.5 GHz range and its WiMAX-related assets and intellectual property. Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks will invest a total of $3.2 billion. more

iPhone 4 Highlights Mobile Problems

Making a telephone call in London has become more difficult for early adopters of the new iPhone 4. First of all the reception is rather poor. And it is not just that it is not showing the bars correctly; many users in congested mobile areas such as London receive the message 'server not available'. (As a matter of fact, this doesn't apply only to the iPhone -- it is also experienced with other smart phones.) more

Google Wants the Other Important Vote to Also Take Place on the Election Day

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) last Friday filed an emergency petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in order to stop the November 4th vote from taking place which may result in favorably supporting the use of "white space" spectrum. Today, Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel, Richard Whitt, urges all citizens to get involved in Free the Airwaves initiative; emphasizing that "it can happen only if the FCC moves forward with rules that make the best possible use of this spectrum." Whitt further explains the situation in a post on Google's Official Blog... more

Google, Microsoft, Motorola, Others Launch the White Spaces Database Group

In the move towards enabling mobile devices to use TV white spaces spectrum, Google along with Comsearch, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Motorola, and Neustar today announced the launch of White Spaces Database Group. The creation of this database has been part of FCC's big vote and approval of white spaces for broadband back in November. This is a required measure to ensure devices can locate channels and avoid interference. more