SAN FRANCISCO -- Consumer demand and the coming spectrum crunch are
driving a new era of innovative engineering and spectrum-sharing
strategies in wireless because the low-hanging fruit in spectrum
allocation has all been picked, an industry expert said.
"The easy stuff [in spectrum] has been cleared. Now it gets hard,"
said Mark Gorenberg, a managing director at Hummer Winblad venture
capital and a member of the President's Council of Advisers on
Science and Technology (PCAST).
The council's report, issued in July of this year, recommended a
variety of steps in the coming years to move spectrum from "scarcity
to abundance." Over the years, the government has freed unused or
underused federal spectrum for commercial uses, and while more
spectrum has been examined with this in mind, the time and cost to
clear the frequencies is now too onerous.
Share, share alike
Now, government and industry are focusing on bandwidth sharing.
"People assume that to do that, you need complicated and new
technologies, and that's not what the PCAST report said," Gorenberg
said, speaking Wednesday (Nov. 7) during an appearance at Open
Mobile Media Summit here. The
spectrum report said use the evolution of white-space
technology, geolocation databases and small cell technology, can
spawn a more efficient and effective use of spectrum, he added.
"You could really make tremendous headway toward sharing," he said.
He noted that the beginnings of spectrum allocation--sparked in part
by the sinking of the Titanic and the communications challenges
around that--were marked by noisy technology that needed to be
carefully isolated. He used the metaphor of a single road dedicated
to single cars, instead of a broad highway with many cars.
"We said, the technology of these devices has advanced so
much today that we can look at options," he said. A spectrum access
system would imitate this and be managed with something like an
air-traffic control system."