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Information Economy Project

Innovation, Technology, and Spectrum Policy

A Mini-Conference by the Information Economy Project - Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The 21st Century is emerging as the Wireless Era. With over 2.5 billion cellular subscribers, global markets and national economies are being reshaped by innovative mobile services. The advent of wireless broadband now promises further advances. Yet, radio spectrum - the key input into the wireless economy - continues to be parsimoniously dribbled out by regulators, allocated on administrative models of the 1920s. Each decision to make additional bandwidth available for the use of innovative technologies is subject to bureaucratic evaluation, process delays, and then often burdened (or buried) with numerous regulatory restrictions. Initiatives put forward to break-through this gauntlet now include Municipal Wi-Fi systems and Reallocating TV Band Spectrum for unlicensed device use. This Mini-Conference considers these proposals, and others, in the search for pro-consumer spectrum policies.

2:15 - 3:30 p.m. - Municipal WiFi - The Reality
Coleman Bazelon, Analysis Group - Why Muni WiFi?
Dewayne Hendricks, CEO, Dandin Group - Municipal Wi-Fi aka Municipal Wireless
Andrew Orlowski, The Register - What Would a Martian Think?

3:30 p.m. - Keynote Address
Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, Chairman of the Board - Qualcomm Keynote Address

4:15 - 5:30 p.m. - TV Band White Space - Two Views
Pierre de Vries, University of Southern California - Talking Points on TV Band White Space Use
Thomas Hazlett, George Mason University - Competitive v. Top-Down: The TV Band "White Space" Issue
Andrew Kreig, Wireless Communications Association, Moderator

The following abstracts describe presentations made at Innovation, Technology, and Spectrum Policy, Mini-Conference, November 14, 2006:

"Why Muni WiFi?" Coleman Bazelon, Analysis Group. Innovation, Technology, and Spectrum Policy, Mini-Conference, November 14, 2006. Muni WiFi Business Models: For-Profit; Nonprofit; Procurement; Public-Private Partnership; Public Ownership; Subsidized Loans. Public Benefits: Broadband coverage, Broadband competition, Direct Wholesale, Subsidized broadband, Municipal Consumer, Cash. Public Inducements: ROW, Anchor tenant, Cash, Franchise. Market Failures? Restricted competition in broadband, Franchising, Tower permitting, Spectrum, Spectrum, Spectrum, Muni WiFi maybe a 2nd (3rd, ..., nth) best response to poor spectrum policy.

"Municipal Wi-Fi aka Municipal Wireless" Dewayne Hendricks, CEO, Dandin Group. Innovation, Technology, and Spectrum Policy, Mini-Conference, November 14, 2006. Overview, Preamble, Survey of Municipal Wireless, Case Study, Conclusions and Recommendations. Wi-Fi Arrives, Enables low cost, anywhere, anytime communications, Unlicensed kicks into high gear. First TAC Meeting, First meeting in 1998 FCC created U-NII Band in Jan. 1997, Early discussions of spectrum sharing, noise floor, spectrum measurement and monitoring, Premise: Reality is always under-reported! TAC Presentation April 2004 "Real World Issues, Practical Pitfalls and Opportunities," Wireless networks can be built in a cooperative manner where the whole is greater than the parts, Using spectrum as a commons can work through the use of simple rules, Innovation occurs when driven by needs.

"What Would a Martian Think?" Andrew Orlowski, The Register. Innovation, Technology, and Spectrum Policy, Mini-Conference, November 14, 2006. Technology and Utopias: Media, Copyright, Regulation: Spectrum. "It's not so much a naïve question of people waiting on mountaintops for Christ to descend from heaven; rather, it's a more microform of utopianism that operates through a tendency to think in terms of blank slates - when Americans 'try again,' they forget that the initial/existing conditions that led to, or derive from, failure are scratched. But that's not true." Ted Byfield. Muni Wi-Fi in the wild.

"Keynote Address: Innovation, Technology and Spectrum Policy" by Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, Chairman of the Board, Qualcomm. Innovation, Technology, and Spectrum Policy, Mini-Conference, November 14, 2006. LINKABIT - Founded October 1968, QUALCOMM - Founded July 1, 1985. For Both Companies - No Products at Start. Strategy - Innovation: Digital & Wireless Communications & Applications. November 1989 - First CDMA Demonstration. Two Base Stations (BTS) & "Mobile" Phone. Nov. 1991: 3 Separate Chips Required for 2G CDMA Modem 2006: 1 Chip Supports Multimode 3G/2G Modem & Much More. Mobile Processing Power - Changing the Mobile Device. 3G Broadband Technology Evolution. CDMA2000 Path - 1X uses 1.25 MHz Spectrum. Today's 3G Technologies Outperform Mobile WiMAX, Forward Link Sector Throughput Comparison. Effective Physical Layer Throughput per Sector in 10MHz. Wireless Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Packet-Switched Voice on EV-DO Rev A, Later on, HSPA+.

Talking Points on TV Band White Space Use - Pierre de Vries, University of Southern California. Innovation, Technology, and Spectrum Policy, Mini-Conference, November 14, 2006. Summary, Not either/or choice between L and UL: need to decide best for this specific case. UL is best for white space junk bands. Mixed L/UL is a necessary regulatory hedge, and in fact synergistic. Not either/or: Don't face an abstract universal choice of what's better in all cases, EAFUS/tradable-licensed. ("L") or Commons/unlicensed ("UL"): Hazlett's "marginal allocation challenge" - given x MHz, what do you do? Not aware of underlying economic theory that treats L and UL in the same way, and which affords a mechanism for choice.

"Competitive v. Top-Down: The TV Band 'White Space' Issue" Thomas Hazlett, George Mason University. Innovation, Technology, and Spectrum Policy, Mini-Conference, November 14, 2006. Current TV Band Proceeding: Unlicensed use of "white space," Devices approved by FCC for sharing spectrum without causing "harmful interference" to others, Overlays defining exclusive rights and assigned to owners (presumably via competitive bidding). The FCC Evaluates, Top-Down: comparing bands in the "public interest," crafting rules specific to each allocation, weighing pleas from interested parties, radio spectrum held hostage, "command and control" reigns, case-by-case stalls deployments. "[W]orld's leading market showcase for wireless data" "Sydney has become the world's leading market showcase for wireless data services," says... U.S. technology research Gartner in Australia... "[A] reason wireless broadband is taking off here: The government sold off radio spectrum for such services relatively cheaply. Privately held Personal Broadband snapped up its license in 2001 for only about US$7.5 million." Citation: Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2005. 8 TV channels per market, 67 channels set aside per market.

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