Spectrum in America

On February 22nd, 2012, posted in: Uncategorized by

This recent article from CNN Money is very curious. http://money.cnn.com/2012/02/21/technology/spectrum_crunch/

The issue with spectrum is that it has been misallocated and is therefore being inefficiently utilized. Yes, it is finite, but that is all the more reason to treat it carefully.

The thought that this somehow sunk up on us, has taken America by surprise and that no one anticipated it may be partially true, but is a “Chicken Little”, “sky is falling” attitude. With proper planning it can be managed.

What is ironic is that there is concept held by some of a fiber glut in the USA, but at the same time there is a wireless spectrum exhaust. Neither are accurate statements.

In reality there is plenty of spectrum, it is just being misused, and there is actually a scarcity of dark fiber available for lease by any and all network operators – including wireless carriers. Unlike spectrum, dark fiber cannot be created just by signing a license agreement, as it is for the airwaves. Spectrum is a Right of Way in the air just as a duct is in dirt Right of Way.

Wireless in the mobile device definition is obviously very convenient and desirable, but it requires fiber for backhaul in order for it to work. So again, the irony is that the article never mentions the need for fiber beyond getting the spectrum issue sorted out which is odd because if a national fiber plan for Fiber to the Tower existed it too would easy the pain of spectrum exhaust by making the spectrum more locally efficient. With more wireless access points fed by fiber there are less mobile users vying for airwave capacity on a long distance basis letting the fiber do that work.

The bottom line is that we need a real, national plan for spectrum as well as dark fiber and physical layer interconnection and colocation in order for the USA to effectively manage demand and its disparate need to add jobs, grow productivity and GDP to be competitive on the global stage. One without the other is not going to produce the results.

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