Feature Article

January 29, 2013

Everywhere but Here?

The Super Wi-Fi Summit event, collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, is going to show trials going on with the old TV bands from Europe, Africa and Asia.

So what is going on here?   The answer is the spectrum is being held hostage. Now perhaps I am being dramatic and in the end the government incentive auction may produce a new national network worth the pain.

From the perspective of the Internet and in truth from at least the lip service of the government, “Small is Better.” And if the government was keeping up with technology, they would be setting policy that would seed the agenda. 

Jonathan Adelsetein, is our lead keynote at the show. He was one of the FCC commissioners when the pulver order came out. He was the man in charge of the RUS BTOP monies being pushed out to stimulate the economy. Now, he is working to represent businesses requirements and I am glad he is there; because the only reason policy will change is if business explains their need for competitive solutions. 

Just like telephone service, business should be enabled to bring in their network equipment and find new ways to connect beyond the premise.   That is in fact what the term cloud is really about, however it can go beyond that with a little help in spectrum available for solutions. For example, our friends in the WiMAX world are focused on the smart grid gauges for the utilities. Rare is the unserved or underserved location that does not have power. So maybe encouraging power companies to use alternate spectrum solves some of the problems of enabling the smart grid and also the underserved

Let’s explain the concept of unserved vs. underserved. The unserved are people who are not in range of a signal, while the underserved can be used to speak about areas that have limited competition. It also is expressed in terms that suggest economically disadvantaged areas. Friends in the past have suggested that four competitors is a good number. Two enables price fixing. More than four might be unsustainable.

However, if Nigeria, Kazahkistan can find a way to use TV White Space in their geographies, I don’t see why we can’t get the solutions in our rural (unserved) areas.

So where is the problem? The answer lies in how little unity we get from the voices who speak for the unserved and the business leaders. President Obama, in his first inaugural address talked about the need to connect everybody. This inaugural, communication policy was not mentioned at all. I am hoping that Jonathan Adelestein leads us to a discussion and a strategy that moves us forward.

To find out more about Jonathan Adelstein, President and CEO PCIA - The Wireless Infrastructure Association, and former FCC Commissioner,  visit the him at the Super Wi-Fi Summit, taking place Jan. 30- Feb 1, in Miami, Florida. Adelstein is speaking during the opening keynote.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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