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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

Banning 5G Equipment is a Foolish Strategy

It has become popular today around Washington and the venues of its coerced allies to issue threats to ban telecommunications equipment from certain countries - especially equipment intended for 5G use. The guise is vague assertions of "national security." It is an old tactic dating back to the turn of the last century and recurrent for decades. A combination of treaty instruments and collaborative industry standards activity several decades ago largely put an end to the banning tactic - significantly benefitting the entire world. more

On the Hunt for “Critical Internet Resources”

I'm writing this column in November, and that means that it is time for the traveling circus known as the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to come down to earth, unpack its tents and sell tickets for its annual song and dance routine. The script for this year's show has been changed, and after being excluded from the main arena last year at the Athens gig, the headline act of "Critical Internet Resources" is taking a starring role this year in Rio. Some folk are even saying that it is the single most contentious issue to be scheduled at this year's IGF show. So what are "Critical Internet Resources" anyway? If folks are going to spend all this time, energy and carbon emissions traveling to Rio to talk on this topic, then wouldn't it be helpful to understand what it means in the first place? There are probably a number of ways to answer this question, so in this heavily opinionated column I'd like to look at the range of possible answers to this question. more

Is Bandwidth Infinite? It All Depends…

On August 23 ( while I was in China) a list member Lee S. Drybrugh wrote in jest: I happened to bump into Peter Cochrane stating, "The good news is -- bandwidth is free -- and we have an infinite supply." Next by sheer accident I bumped into this in relation to Gilder, "Telecosm argues that the world is beginning to realise that bandwidth is not a scarce resource (as was once thought) but is in factinfinite." Can anyone explain this infinite bandwidth as I think I am getting ripped off by my ISP if this is true? Craig Partridge then offered what I think is a very good commentary of a difficult question where the answer depends very much on context... 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

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

21st Century Triple Networks: Ubiquitous 4G, WiFi, & Wires

The best engineers on the planet are coming to the same conclusion: a hybrid 4G/WiFi/landline network is the way to meet mobile demand. Folks like John Donovan of AT&T and Masayoshi Son of Softbank in Japan had this vision around 2007-2008. As the iPhone/iPad/Android made the coming demand clear, networks planners around the world evolved similar strategies. more

The End of the (IPv4) World is Nigher!

Funny how some topics seem sit on a quiet back burner for years, and then all of a sudden become matters of relatively intense attention. Over the past few weeks we've seen a number of pronouncements on the imminent exhaustion of the IP version 4 address pools. Not only have some of the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) and some national registry bodies made public statements on the topic, we've now seen ICANN also make its pronouncement on this topic... Why the sudden uptake of interest in this topic? I suspect that a small part of this may be my fault! 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

Identity Theft: Giving Away Your Personal Information

Identity theft is apparently the "in thing" these days. By media accounts, hackers and evildoers lurk everywhere trying to steal your personal information. In the past few months, one company after another is being forced to admit customer data has been lost or stolen. In many cases, they have them come forth repeatedly over the next few weeks, or even months revising the estimated number of impacted customers. To date, I don't think any have ever lowered those numbers. ...Let's consider two events that didn't make the front page of C|Net or CNN.  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

Broadband Now: Yes We Can… Stimulate the Economy, Says Industry Association

With the upcoming inauguration of United States' 44th President, USTelecom Association has released a Broadband Now video highlighting challenges facing the country, and how broadband can make a significant difference. From revitalizing the economy to tackling health care, education and global climate change, broadband can play a vital role, says the association which represents broadband service providers, manufacturers and suppliers providing advanced applications and entertainment. 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

Elon Musk Interview: SpaceX, Starlink and His Motivation and Philosophy

Elon Musk packed a lot about SpaceX and Starlink into a 32-minute interview at the 2021 Mobile World Congress and ended with a discussion of his motivation and the roles of his three companies - SpaceX, Starlink, and Neuralnk. Let's start with the SpaceX and Starlink update and conclude with the philosophy and motivation. (Scroll to the end of the post for the video of the interview). more

Potential Impacts of Large-Scale Metaverses on Internet Governance: Bandwidth

Neal Stephenson’s foundational cyberpunk novel Snow Crash brought to the public the concept of a metaverse, a virtual reality in which people interact using avatars in a manufactured ecosystem, eschewing the limitations of human existence. More recently, Ready Player One capitalized on that idea and brought it back to prominence with a bestselling novel and subsequent film adaptation. Amid rebranding efforts and seeking a new way forward, Mark Zuckerberg has made it Facebook’s (now Meta Platforms) priority to build a platform that could enable the metaverse to become a mainstream technology with the sort of reach that their social networks and WhatsApp have. more