Archive for the ‘National Broadband Plan’ Category

Three Invalid Assumptions that Make the FCC’s Spectrum Requirements Model Skew High

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

“To generalize, it is often true that studies will be promoted that tend to support the policy inclinations of the Chairman, under whose direction, after all, every draft decision is made.”

“[S]tatistics can lie. But cast as ‘studies’ by commentors, they take on the weight that a decision maker chooses to make of them.”

Daniel Brenner

As a follow-on to its National Broadband Plan, the FCC last year released a Technical Paper intended to validate the Plan’s prediction of a 300 MHz mobile-broadband spectrum deficit by 2014. The Paper describes a spectrum requirements model that totals current spectrum assigned to mobile broadband and applies a multiplier based on expected demand, taking into account expected increased tower density and improvements in air-interface spectrum efficiency. The model’s result is a predicted deficit of 275 MHz in 2014, which rounds to 300 MHz. On the way toward that result, however, the analysis uses just a few of the available data forecasts, ignores offloading of macrocell data to Wi-Fi and femtocells, and assumes the continuation of flat-rate plans for consumers. Some of these oddities I noted in a post at the time. I had hoped the FCC would make the Paper a subject of public comment. That hasn’t happened. So, I’ve looked at the Paper in more detail. I find that when looking at the above factors in a more realistic manner, predicted spectrum requirements go down significantly.


Spectrum, Data, Capacity, and PR

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

A couple of days ago the Mobile Future coalition posted a short video on YouTube advocating the allocation of more spectrum for mobile broadband.  As evidence of the need, it says that, compared to feature phones, smartphones use 24 times the spectrum and tablets 120 times the spectrum.


Reports from NAB and CTIA Address Efficient Use of Spectrum

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Recent contributions to the mobile broadband spectrum debate are reports from NAB and CTIA. I envisioned a “dueling reports” piece, but they mostly complement each other. Below I walk through the main points, adding some of my own views.


Should a Sales Brochure Underlie US Spectrum Policy?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

The FCC relies on Cisco’s forecast of mobile-broadband data demand as a basis for spectrum policy. Called the Visual Networking Index, it comes up many times in the National Broadband Plan, in other documents, and in speeches.


The FCC’s Spectrum Deficit Estimate

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

The FCC’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) recommends that the Commission make available 500 MHz of new spectrum for wireless broadband, including 300 MHz for mobile use. In support of that recommendation, on October 21, the FCC released an FCC Omnibus Broadband Initiative technical paper: Mobile Broadband: The Benefits of Additional Spectrum. The paper concludes that mobile data demand is likely to exceed capacity in the near term and, in particular, that the spectrum deficit is likely to approach 300 MHz by 2014.


The FCC’s Broadcast Engineering Forum

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

The FCC held its Broadcast Engineering Forum on June 25, 2010.

As background, the National Broadband Plan recommends repurposing 120 MHz of from the TV bands to mobile broadband. On June 14 the FCC released an Omnibus Broadband Team Technical Paper that describes some of the analyses supporting this repurposing. Chairman Genachowski asked the Commission staff to hold the Forum to consider ideas in the Paper.

At this Forum there were four areas discussed:

  • Advancements in Compression Technology
  • Cellularization of Broadcast Architecture
  • Improvements in VHF Reception
  • Methodologies for Repacking the TV Band

Each area had been the subject of discussion by groups in workshops earlier in the day. At the Forum each of the four groups reported  preliminary findings and recommendations.

After hearing the Forum, which is a preliminary effort, I”d say its gist is that technical changes in the TV industry aren’t going to free up significant TV spectrum for mobile broadband.  There are no advancements in compression technology that can be implemented in a timely manner (i.e., less than 13 years). State-of-the-art in compression technology, and market realities, makes channel sharing by different licensees impractical. Cellularization of broadcast architecture is seen as not practical nor economical. There is room for improvement in VHF reception, perhaps through higher transmit power levels and better, smart receive antennas. An examination of methodologies for repacking the TV band shows no scenarios where stations can avoid sharing channels, unless some stations voluntarily go off-the-air. (And, as we heard in the presentation on compression, sharing is seen as impractical.)