March 23, 2017
There has been chatter about white space for some time now – mostly for wireless Internet access. But only of late has that started to get some traction.
The recent completion of the incentive auction to remove regulatory uncertainty and frees up spectrum for license-exempt wireless Internet access is happening, according to Apurva Mody, chairman of WhiteSpace Alliance.
And incentives are happening too. The FCC’s auction process provided a financial incentive to current holders of TV broadcast spectrum licensees to voluntarily give up usage rights so that spectrum could be reallocated. “Repacking” the resulting spectrum band will create a significant amount of spectrum to become available for white space use on a database driven, license-exempt basis.
A comprehensive regulatory framework for managing spectrum in the TV bands has already been put in place by the FCC. “International technical standards for TV white space products have been in place for some time,” said Mody. Making sufficient spectrum available to the marketplace is the final step needed to unleash a critical mass of innovative services. Well, it appears that it is getting close to reality, finally.
The idea is to offer fixed wireless in these empty/underutilized bands. The VHF/UHF bands can easily handle distances of up to 18 miles. Better with ideal terrain conditions.
It varies from country to country and so does progress in utilizing them. And the arguments from broadcasters have been vocal, including lawsuits. But evidence that goes back as far as 2008 generally supports the use of unlicensed devices in these whitespace bands. So finally, many of the roadblocks have been removed and serious deployment is starting to proceeded. Once it gets traction, expect to see a wide diversity of devices and applications, including the Internet of Everything/Everyone (IoX), smart “X,” last mile connectivity, M2M, automation and homeland security, to mention a few.