---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dewayne Hendricks
Date: Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Subject: [Dewayne-Net] Despite Calls for Spectrum Sharing, Technological, Regulatory Questions Linger
To: Multiple recipients of Dewayne-Net <dewayne-net@...
Despite Calls for Spectrum Sharing, Technological, Regulatory Questions Linger
By Paul Barbagallo
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
A just-completed report from a presidential advisory committee urging
President Obama to open up as much as 1,000 megahertz of
government-controlled spectrum to the wireless industry on a shared
basis has reignited debate about how the airwaves could, and should, be
allocated in the United States.
The report, by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and
Technology, or PCAST, is the latest indication of a growing awareness
within the federal government that, while there is no new spectrum
available, newer technologies like software-enabled radios may be able
to greatly increase efficiencies and allow--for the first time--federal,
nonfederal, and commercial entities to share the same bands of
In two high-profile speeches in May, Federal Communications Commission
Chairman Julius Genachowski appealed for acceptance of spectrum sharing
as one way for wireless carriers to accommodate the ever-increasing
consumer demand for smartphones and tablets, which require more spectrum
to carry their data transmissions--significantly more than what is
needed to carry cellular calls.
In March, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA) concluded in a much-anticipated report
that, while it is possible to reallocate 95 MHz of government-held
spectrum in the 1755-1850 MHz band for commercial mobile broadband and
similar applications, some federal licensees, such as the Department of
Defense, “could remain in the band indefinitely.”
Hence, sharing must be embraced as a new reality.
Is Technology Ready?
Taken together, these developments have changed the narrative in
Washington from one about prying loose the spectrum from so-called
“inefficient” users--TV broadcasters, federal government agencies--to
one about sharing the spectrum.
While the concept has been embraced by the FCC, NTIA, and PCAST, the
chief concern of the wireless industry is that spectrum-sharing
technologies might not be ready for commercial application until 2020 at
“If you come out and start saying, 'let's share spectrum,' and there's
not a means for doing spectrum sharing, you've compounded the problem,”
Randall Stephenson, chairman, chief executive, and president of AT&T
Inc., told reporters following remarks at a Washington event in June.
Since May, Stephenson has publicly suggested twice that spectrum-sharing
technology is not ready for “prime time,” while giving his general
support for the idea pending the resolution of many “what ifs.”
So far, neither the FCC nor the NTIA have begun to address the many
questions that are now beginning to emerge: Who will share with whom? If
wireless carriers must share spectrum that is licensed to federal
government agencies, who retains priority access? What are the rules for
the wireless carriers when they are using spectrum licensed to the
federal government? And, perhaps most critically, what “type” of sharing
ultimately will be promoted?
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