The Economist Discovers The Spectrum Debate

Admittedly, there’s not much (at all) new in this Economist piece, but it is a good, quick, backgrounder on the whole regulated vs. free spectrum debate and the people pushing for more open spectrum. One small nitpick is that they claim Europe has “banned” CDMA2000, which is clearly an incorrect generalization, since a CDMA2000 offering launched in Eastern Europe last week. The article also seems to brush over the continued interference questions, though, it does have an amusing quote from a clearly biased Cingular rep suggesting that unlicensed spectrum is “crack cocaine… the ultimate high that solves all your problems,” but causes plenty of new ones. While he may be overstating his case, the interference question still is a big one. The concepts behind open spectrum may be completely true, but it needs the smart radios that can handle it — and, right now, we all know that the interference problems exist. In the meantime, why not just use what spectrum is available to prove you can build systems that don’t interfere, and then see about using additional spectrum. We have nothing against freeing up more spectrum (especially the ridiculous amount of unused spectrum that the broadcasters are saving for a rainy day), but the open spectrum camp needs to show that interference really isn’t a problem to really support their case.

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