White Space

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Policies to Promote Broadband Access in Developing Countries

In the 2014 Istanbul-Turkey IGF workshop on policies to promote broadband access in developing countries organised by Rui ZHONG of ISOC China, we realized that while technological solutions are advancing rapidly, policy and regulations remain a significant barrier to affordable internet especially in the developing world. According to a report by Alliance for Affordable Internet ( A4AI), the key to affordability is the policy and regulatory environment that shapes the different actors in the market. 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

Medical Body Area Networks

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington has advanced its wireless health care agenda by adopting rules that will enable Medical Body Area Networks (MBANs), low-power wideband networks consisting of multiple body-worn sensors that transmit a variety of patient data to a control device. MBANs provide a cost effective way to monitor every patient in a healthcare institution, so clinicians can provide real-time and accurate data which allows them to intervene if necessary. more

Canada Emerging at the Forefront of LTE

Canada has made impressive progress in mobile broadband deployment in recent months. This is partly due to operators needing to arrest falls in revenue from mobile voice services by buttressing their data capabilities, as also by the stimulus to the market introduced through the auction of Advanced Wireless Services spectrum in 2008. This auction overhauled the wireless market, introducing a number of smaller players which have added to the competitive mix as well as furthered the development of LTE. 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

AT&T's Randall & Stankey: Wireless Data Growth Half The FCC Prediction

40%, not 92%-120%. "Data consumption right now is growing 40% a year," John Stankey of AT&T told investors and his CEO Randall Stephenson confirmed on the investor call. That's far less than the 92% predicted by Cisco's VNI model or the FCC's 120% to 2012 and 90% to 2013 figure in the "spectrum crunch" analysis. AT&T is easily a third of the U.S. mobile Internet and growing market share; there's no reason to think the result will be very different when we have data from others. more

Smartphones: Too Smart for Mobile Operators?

In June, the net neutrality debate took an unexpected turn when the Netherlands leap-frogged the USA to became the first country to legislate for mobile net neutrality. Business models for fixed and mobile networks must shift toward volume charges. The net neutrality debate has been seen not having much relevance outside the USA because the plight of carriers there was aggravated by unlimited usage. more

The Future of the Internet Economy: Chapter 2

The OECD held a "high-level" meeting in June 2011 that was intended to build upon the OECD Ministerial on The Future of the Internet Economy held in Seoul, Korea in June 2008. I was invited to attend this meeting as part of the delegation from the Internet Technical Advisory Committee (ITAC), and here I'd like to share my impressions of this meeting. This 2 day meeting, "The Internet Economy: Generating Innovation and Growth", had the objective of exploring a number of current issues in the public policy space... 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

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

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

Google Announces White Spaces Trial for a Hospital

Google has announced the deployment of an experimental broadband network using the TV white spaces. Company says: "This is an exciting new deployment -- the first of its kind for a hospital -- demonstrating the potential of the TV white spaces to improve broadband and spark new applications in healthcare. First responder vehicles, hospital grounds as well as the health department are being equipped with high-speed wireless Internet access. Additionally, the hospital is using the network to manage its outdoor video surveillance system." 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

Wired vs Wireless Debate Becomes a Core Policy Differentiator in National Election

I never thought I'd see the day when the difference in capability between a wireless and a wireline Internet would become a core policy differentiator in a national election, but this has now happened in Australia. ... It seems that everyone has an interest in a ubiquitous, fast and cheap internet. Now that interest has been taken up as a major policy differentiator by both sides of the political spectrum in the recent Australian election. What was this all about? more