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Government Wireless Networking

FCC Moving To Launch Dynamic Spectrum Sharing 30

dstates writes "The FCC is considering one of the biggest regulatory changes in decades: allowing a newly available chunk of wireless spectrum to be leased by different users at different times and places, rather than being auctioned off to one high bidder. The plan is to open a new WiFi with spectrum in the 3.550 to 3.650 gigahertz band now used by radar systems. Under the proposed rule to be voted on Wednesday, users could reserve pieces of that spectrum in different regions and at different time managed by a central database. Spectrum sharing is a dramatic change with a potential to make bandwidth accessible to many users. The plan has met with mixed reviews from the cellular carriers."
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FCC Moving To Launch Dynamic Spectrum Sharing

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  • by earlzdotnet ( 2788729 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:10PM (#42268925)
    I really hope that this ends up passing, but I don't see the big operators letting it get through with their lobbying ability. I mean, say a small rural town. AT&T won't build infrastructure for 4G and neither will any of the other big carriers. The current option is for a regional carrier to make a deal to get part of say AT&T's spectrum so they can put up their own 4G towers.. If AT&T doesn't like that, they don't allow it. I think AT&T shouldn't have a say in spectrum for an area that is completely unused. This should be managed at the FCC so that it's at least decently fair...

    But, then you also have the whole "what if AT&T wants to build out into the area and displace the regional service"... The answer there is that AT&T should lease their towers and spectrum. Make it so a block of spectrum is never controlled by a single monopolistic company, or at least make it so it's not economical to.

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      The stuff discussed in this article does not seem to have anything to do with that. The article specifically mentions that exclusivity is not going away, and that the FCC is continuing to auction off spectrum.

      This seems to be more about the federal government letting others use some of their assigned frequencies during times and in places the government does not need them, with some kind of reservation system to control who gets what when.

    • by gagol ( 583737 )
      Would it not be simpler to collectively build the infrastructure and lease it to provate operators? Long term public revenues, no monopolies allowed, etc.
      • So you are advocating a monopoly in order to prevent a monopoly?

        Remember "bridges to nowhere"? All that will do is get you "fiber optic to nowhere".
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Dear FCC: stop auctioning off the public airwaves (OUR PROPERTY) to private firms. Lease it to them and start acting in the interests of the people.

      Dear wireless carriers: fuck you.

  • Spread spectrum maybe? Or is somebody trying to over complicate things?

    • Oh, wait... Spread spectrum might be to difficult to jam and intercept.. Can't have that. Too much privacy.

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:27PM (#42269003)

      Not spread spectrum. Exclusive use of spectrum in a specific place at a certain time and duration. As in, 'I need cell xxx,yyy on Dec 12 from noon-1PM to test my new stuff', or 'I need cell xxx,yyy on Dec 12 from 1-2PM to handle traffic while I perform maint on another cell'.

      • by mcrbids ( 148650 )

        Came here to say this, was not disappoint. Spread spectrum technology is not yet on the horizon.

        Speaking of it, why hasn't there been a spread spectrum wifi 802.11SS that uses this technology? It would be nice to have a wifi hotspot that you don't have to dicker with channels to get working in a busy area....

        • Maybe I'm confused by your question, but 802.11 is indeed a DSSS technology. The problem is that spread spectrum does not mean "unlimited bandwidth" - the more traffic, the more interference, the "weaker" (the harder to distinguish from background noise) the signal becomes. That's why 802.11 has a set of channels it can run on, and why, for example, Sprint and Verizon (or the operators of 3G UMTS networks like T-Mobile and AT&T) aren't going to come to a spectrum sharing agreement any time soon.


  • Like AM radio! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 12, 2012 @11:20PM (#42268977)

    It seems like this is actually pretty similiar to the way AM radio stations are handled. Some are daytime only, and at night higher powered clear channel stations [] use their spectrum to broadcast over a wider area.

    • Sorry, but things haven't been that way for years here in the US; it may be that way still in (parts of?) Canada and Mexico. Here, the old Class-D stations are required to lower power enough to prevent interference (in some cases to ridiculous values like *TENS* of watts!), but not go off the air completely. Likewise, FM and TV stations are not allowed to go off the air without a good reason.

      I don't remember exactly when this was done, but I'm pretty sure it was in the 90's.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't know where you got that info from, but it certainly does not agree with this []. The FCC rules (2011) state that class-D stations can not radiate in the two hours after sunrise or two hours before sunset. It also states that the minimum hours of operation for AM and FM stations is "two thirds of the authorized hours of operation between 6AM and 6PM, and two-thirds of the authorized hours between 6PM and midnight, every day of the week except Sunday".

  • by Mike_K ( 138858 ) on Thursday December 13, 2012 @01:03AM (#42269453)

    I have wondered why spectrum licenses have been perpetual. It makes a lot more sense to have the lease lapse after 10 or 20 years, and re-auction it. This would provide for the more effective allocation, while allowing big carriers to have return on their infrastructure investment.

    Finer grained licensing (what this proposal seems to suggest) is also good, but you can only invest so much in infrastructure without knowing how/when exactly the spectrum will be available. So this will be useful for something like WiFi, but not so well for large installations of cell base stations.


    • by vuke69 ( 450194 )

      It should be an upfront cost (auction), that buys you in for 5 years. 6th year is 20% of the original sum, 7th @ 40%, etc... increasing by 20% a year until they either surrender the allocation and walk away, or allow it to go back up for auction where they can bid on a new term.

    • I'm thinking you are onto something here. Only, I'd do it this way...

      You bid for rights to a specific number of years, let's say 10, to allow companies to get a reasonable ROI at some known cost. Lease fees are payable for a year at a time, 90 days in advance. At the end of your lease, the spectrum goes back to bid. If the lease holder does not pay the fees 90 days in advance of the new year, the spectrum goes back to bid. If the spectrum is not in use at the 90 day mark, it goes back to bid. You choos

  • What this system desperately needs is a use it, or loose it provision, where anyone leasing the space must actually start using it within a fairly short period of time.

    Right now some of these companies lease the space and sit on it for years before rolling out products to avoid having the new product cannibalize their profits on the existing systems. This results in advantages only for companies that are willing to engage in anti competitive practices.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus