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For Tv 'white Spaces,' the Global Outlook Is Hopeful but Cautious


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TV white space.

Spectrum policies in developed and developing markets are beginning to accommodate white spaces.

Credit: flowtv.org

Efforts to use "white space" left over from TV stations' switch to all-digital broadcasts to transmit broadband signals across the globe have run into resistance from incumbent spectrum owners and TV broadcasters, which has dampened manufacturers' enthusiasm to build new white-spaces devices, chipsets, and infrastructure.

Still, developed and developing markets' spectrum policies are starting to accommodate white spaces, with regulators establishing a foundation for providing some unlicensed white space.

Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) recently introduced a regulatory framework for guiding TV white space usage, stipulating that all devices must link with a geo-location database to determine whether channels are protected for use by incumbent broadcasts. An IDA spokesperson says the database approach is the deployment scheme globally favored by the industry, while IDA is encouraging continued development of spectrum sensing as a complementary strategy to boost spectrum allocation efficiency.

As Africa and other emerging nations have yet to complete the digital TV transition, the world's mobile network operators are pushing regulators to license a maximum volume of sub-1 GHz spectrum.

It remains uncertain whether white spaces can enable next-generation mobile devices to offer inexpensive Internet services worldwide. However, policy changes could be spurred by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' approval of the 802.11af Wi-Fi standard, and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's adoption of broadcast spectrum auction rules.

From Bloomberg BNA
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