Wireless Innovation Forum Announces Support of NAB’s Recent FCC Request for Spectrum Usage Review

Support driven by the Forum’s Advocacy Agenda

Online PR News – 05-August-2013 – Washington, DC – The Wireless Innovation Forum, a non-profit international industry association dedicated to driving the future of radio communications and systems worldwide, today announced support of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) call for a comprehensive inventory of present and future spectrum usage by all parties (including the wireless industry, satellite, broadcasters, and the government). This call was included in NAB’s recent filing to the FCC in response to a public notice by the FCC’s Wireless Bureau seeking comments on US Wireless Competition (http://www.nab.org/documents/filings/WirelessCompetitionReplies072513.pdf).

The Forum’s support of this request is driven by the Forum’s Advocacy Agenda, created in 2012 to support the Forum’s mission of advocating for the innovative utilization of spectrum, and advancing radio technologies that support essential or critical communications. The Advocacy Agenda defines The Forum’s members’ consensus positions on areas that include innovation and competition, regulation, technology, standards, interoperability and security, allowing the Forum to act as the voice of the wireless innovation community.

NAB notes in its filing that is important to recognize that the commercial wireless industry's continued push for more spectrum with no bounds is not sustainable as a practical matter. The Forum has no official position on the commercial wireless industry’s push for more spectrum, but it does agree that that reallocation of spectrum is not a sustainable basis for sound spectrum policy.

A number of regulatory mechanisms exist to increase the shared use and access of selected bands while continuing to ensure that systems can operate without disruption or harmful interference

“Given the complex intertwining of existing spectrum licenses, reallocation of spectrum is no longer feasible due to high cost, length of time to implement and disruption of service”, stated Lee Pucker, CEO of the Wireless Innovation Forum. “A number of regulatory mechanisms exist to increase the shared use and access of selected bands, while continuing to ensure that systems can operate without disruption or harmful interference”.

In addition, the filing states that "NAB submits that it is not sufficient to analyze only who is licensed to use commercial spectrum in this country. Rather, the more important question is whether and how intensely licensees use spectrum and where. Without this critical information, the Commission cannot make optimal - or even rational - spectrum management decisions." The filing also states, “Despite a ‘baseline inventory’ completed in 2011, the Commission still lacks any comprehensive data on how intensively wireless companies use the spectrum already licensed to them. For that reason, when asked about spectrum efficiency and utilization, the Commission can only point the public toward resources such as "LicenseView" and "Spectrum Dashboard" as an "inventory" of non-federal spectrum. These resources provide an overview of license holdings and available spectrum, but they do not analyze or assess the most important consideration - how efficiently each license holder uses its licensed spectrum.”

The members of the Forum believe this should be taken a step farther, and endorse a cooperative approach to spectrum management that allows for the design, development and standardization of a “spectrum dashboard” providing a real time or near real time view of the radio environment map at a given location and at a given time. Such a dashboard will be a key tool in determining the etiquettes that the radio systems must consider when making spectrum sharing decisions.

The Forum’s members also believe that the inventory of wireless industry current and future spectrum usage should include both licensed and unlicensed uses. The Forum advocates a regulatory model that includes combinations of licensed and unlicensed, sharing and hierarchical, cooperative and co-existent domains for the optimal utilization of spectrum. This approach will also permit the use of spectrum that is currently unavailable due to warehousing or is no longer used though the license remains active. While exclusive-use spectrum is a necessary regulatory condition, it is insufficient to ensure that national spectrum resources are optimally leveraged to maximum benefit. The integration of unlicensed access models and establishment of new spectrum sharing regulations, including increased tolerance of nominal levels of interference where appropriate, coupled with effective interference resolution processes are critical. In addition, assessment of the impact of spectrum sharing on unique legacy system that are unable to augment their systems performance must be addressed by regulatory agencies.

Finally, the Forum advocates for technology and service neutrality to enable innovative and efficient use of spectrum. While supporting a regulatory framework of dedicated, licensed spectrum, the Forum believes that increased neutrality with respect to the specific uses of licensed spectrum will result in increased innovation in wireless applications. For example, mandating specific technology restrictions negatively impacts continued use of second-generation commercial wireless technology. In some jurisdictions, regulations still require that commercial wireless operators use Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) in certain bands. However, no reason exists today for precluding operators from using other air interfaces within these bands. SDR base station technology can support multiple technologies using the same hardware, dynamically assigning channels in a manner that avoids any interference between them.

Additional recent Forum responses on spectrum sharing include:
Wireless Innovation Forum offers comments on FCC Technological Advisory Council NPRM
Wireless Innovation Forum Applauds Balanced Approach to Spectrum Sharing in Presidential Memo
Both can be found in our Press Room.

Established in 1996, The Wireless Innovation Forum (SDR Forum Version 2.0) is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation dedicated to driving technology innovation in commercial, civil, and defense communications worldwide. Members bring a broad base of experience in Software Defined Radio (SDR), Cognitive Radio(CR) and Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) technologies in diverse markets and at all levels of the wireless value chain to address emerging wireless communications requirements. To learn more about The Wireless Innovation Forum, its meetings and membership benefits, visit www.WirelessInnovation.org.

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