White Space

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More Available Wireless Spectrum and Higher Market Entry Barriers

The tremendous demand for, and profitability of mobile telephony supports legislative and regulatory efforts to refarm spectrum with an eye toward reallocating as much as possible for wireless telephony and data services. But there is a downside that no one seems to acknowledge. In light of past FCC practice and the behavior of incumbent wireless carriers I expect two anticompetitive outcomes to occur with the onset of any more spectrum. more

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

Goo Goo Goggles: 700MHz Spectrum Auction and the U.S. Taxpayers

Scott Cleland claims the open access rules on 700MHz spectrum triggered by Google's bid fleeced the US taxpayer by $7bn. I don't buy it, even as a signed-up fully-paid network neutrality opponent. Firstly, the numbers ignore economics. If the C block was encumbered, that would raise the prices of the A and B blocks. So you need to take a much smaller differential as to the cost of the encumbrance. more

The Other Vote on November 4th

The vote that Federal Communications Commissioners are planning for November 4 is not as important as the voting we'll do on that day, but it does matter a lot to the future of the United States. Unless the forces opposed to progress manage to postpone FCC action (which they are trying very hard to do), the FCC could decide to set the stage for another generation of innovative products with which the US will strengthen its competitive position in global markets... more

The Importance of the FCC

My friend Om Malik, dean of the telecom bloggers, posted on the importance of the Federal Communications Commission Chair appointment Obama will make as President... Om is dead on about the importance of this appointment. Decisions made by the five member FCC commission have had and will have an enormous effect not only on the tech sector but on the entire US and even the global economy. more

FCC Approves White Space Devices: The Dawn of the Age of Opportunistic Spectrum Reuse

Yesterday will go down in history as a bellwether moment. Few among us will soon forget the excitement of Obama's election. But there was an equally historic vote yesterday that for geeks, policy analysts, and technologists represents an entirely new trajectory in telecommunications. In essence, the FCC has begun the transition from command-and-control, single-user spectrum licensure to a more distributed system that holds the potential to eliminate the artificial scarcity that prevented widespread access to the public airwaves since 1927. more

The Addressing System for the Next (Wireless) Internet

I gave a talk yesterday at Northwestern called A DNS in the Air. My idea is that, in order to scale, the emerging wireless Internet needs something analogous to the domain name system (DNS) -- the infrastructure that allows you to reach sites across the Net. Billions of mobile phones, and even more billions of connected sensors and other wireless devices will completely overwhelm our current spectrum management regime. AT&T Wireless estimates we will need between 250 and 600 TIMES the current wireless capacity in 2018, less than a decade from now. more

Why Broadband Competition Is As Good As It Gets, Explains Telecom Analyst

Broadband competition in the US is as good as it gets in the foreseeable future and will potentially decrease according to telecom and tech regulatory analyst, Blair Levin. "There's not that much left to be disruptive," Levin said. "White spaces could be in rural areas, and a little bit in broadband, but I don't think so. Other things that people are looking to be disruptive I don't think will happen." more

Google Playing to Win in the 700 MHz Auctions

Many say Google will bid to lose in the upcoming 700 MHz auctions and many more are equivocating. The idea is Google's entry alone will induce enough openness, and besides they couldn't afford to become an operator. This shows a total lack of understanding! more

Google Launches Free The Airwaves, Pushing White Spaces Issue

Google has announced today the launch of a new website promoting the unlicensed use of "white space" spectrum. The initiative is called "Free The Airwaves" which encourages Internet users to get proactive on the white spaces issue, if they "care about the future of the Internet." Minnie Ingersoll, Google Product Manager, explains in a related blog post: "For quite some time we've been talking about the potential of the unused airwaves between broadcast TV channels ("white spaces") to provide affordable, high-speed wireless Internet connectivity nationwide. For this to happen, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must allow unlicensed use of this spectrum..." more

Google and the White Spaces

The white spaces proceeding is the next big opportunity for experiments in alternative ways of providing wireless highspeed internet access... A key advantage of unlicensed spectrum is that experiments in new technology can be carried out without asking the permission of spectrum licensees. To date, we have made very little spectrum available for unlicensed use and experimentation. The FCC has the discretion to decide whether the digital television "white spaces" may be used on an unlicensed basis... more

Other Plans: WiMAX, Google, Sprint and Clearwire

Someone asked me a question today about Google's new partnership with Sprint. Sprint/Nextel is the third largest wireless carrier in the U.S., falling far behind Verizon and AT&T -- who together control 51% of the wireless market. (Sprint services are also resold by Comcast and Time Warner as part of their packages.) Sprint has announced it won't bid in the 700 MHz auction. Sprint has other plans... more

The Defense Department Opening Large Areas of Mid-Band Spectrum to Help US Compete With China in 5G

On Monday, the Trump administration announced plans to auction off 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum dedicated initially to military purposes for commercial use starting in mid-2022 to fuel 5G network deployment in the United States. more

Gaping Hole in Models for Using Spectrum Efficiently

In February, the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis published three studies (1, 2, 3) on spectrum licensing and spectrum utilization. Thanks to Nick Ruark for pointing them out... Reading on I was struck by a gaping hole in their assumptions. more

Tinkering Without Tampering: Wrestling With Convergence and Communications Policy (Transcript)

Our world finds itself at a critical juncture. Both trillions of dollars and the future of human communications including fundamental access to it are at stake. For telecom operators and media outlets there is not a migratory way from where we are to the future. There is a clear consumer shift underway that runs in the opposite direction to that of telecom and media incumbents; emergent social practice is increasingly clashing with the very structure and desires of incumbent players... It was for these reasons that one of the six keynote speakers invited to Spring 2009 Emerging Communications Conference (eComm) in San Francisco was Richard Whitt, Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel. His keynote was entitled, Tinkering without Tampering: Wrestling with Convergence and Communications Policy... more