In his post White spaces could be the broadcaster's best hope, Brough Turner says, in part:
But fighting the White Space Coalition is short sighted. The NAB faces a much bigger and more powerful enemy — mobile operators.
The White Spaces Coalition merely seeks permission to use spectrum where NAB members are not using it, i.e. on a non-interference basis as "secondary users" with purely secondary rights.The mobile industry wants it all. They'd prefer that broadcast spectrum be taken back and auctioned off for mobile use.
I saw the same thing Brough sees, back in March 2008 in a post called The White Space Sucker Punch in which I said, in part:
What the CTIA knows in its filing is that television broadcast white spaces is merely a brief stopgap on the way to severely consolidating the television broadcast spectrum(s) considerably more. Remember that there were originally 83 television broadcast channels. 70-83 became the original (analog) cellular telephone band and the 800 MHz public safety and commercial two-way radio bands. Now we've given over channels 52-69 to more commercial and public safety communications use. It's just a matter of time ... and demand... before there's yet another round, or two, of further consolidation of television broadcasting and "freeing up" of, say, channels 31-50 - a further 120 MHz.
But license-exempt communications use of television broadcast white space would make another reallocation of television broadcast spectrum totally impossible! Once there are millions of license-exempt devices (and networks of devices) out there "in the wild", they couldn't be recalled. The television white spaces would be "forever polluted" for the kind of "stupid wireless" command-and-control communications systems that wireless telephony technology uses. WiMAX is no different than wireless telephony systems in this regard - there are no "cognitive" capabilities in "licensed" communications systems because the license is "the intelligence" in the system that insures that systems function well and don't cause interference. Cognitive techniques, on the other hand, assume that there will be interference, and accommodate interference when it does occur... and keep working.
The wireless carriers are thinking strategically... that's why they're positing the current problems in delivering reliable service as a "lack of spectrum" issue. They have allies within the FCC that are sympathetic to that position. (That the FCC is sympathetic is a byproduct of most FCC personnel being lawyers and thus seeing "spectrum as property", and the wireless carriers [arguably] need more spectrum/property, but that's a discussion for another time.)
In comparison, the television broadcasters are thinking tactically, that they don't want to share their spectrum with white spaces usage. They think they're winning the fight by requiring Whitespace devices to use a central database and a "Mother, May I ?" "permission-to-transmit" paradigm, but that paradigm will just make it very easy to "clear out" those devices when television broadcast spectrum is reassigned yet again to wireless communications use. What the television broadcasters need to do is to acquiesce to uncoordinated (but non-interfering) usage from not only Whitespace devices, but also things like neighborhood television transmitters (even lower power than low power TV, and usage by Amateur Radio operators.
That's... if they want to stay in the "spray modulated RF energy across a wide area" business. Eventually, they won't be. The question they have to ask is if now is the time they want to be forced into consolidating their operations into an even smaller chunk of spectrum from the onslaught of the wireless carriers. If yes, then they'll keep fighting Whitespace operations and won't invite Amateur Radio operators to use their spectrum on a non-interference basis.
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