Let My Spectrum Go
from the denial-of-interference dept
The topic of open spectrum certainly isn’t new. However, it’s suddenly getting a lot more attention. Yesterday, the Economist had a nice backgrounder on the debate (though, they screwed up a few facts), and today Clay Shirky has written up a long piece in defense of opening up more spectrum. Opening up more spectrum, especially a lot of the valuable spectrum the broadcasters are hoarding, would be a huge deal, and could be very helpful for a variety of industries and the overall economy. However, as I pointed out yesterday, it’s not quite that easy. While it’s clear that those who benefit from a world where spectrum is scarce are over-playing the fear of more unlicensed spectrum, interference still is a problem. Shirky cites one test that showed where interference wasn’t a problem, but to use that one story to suggest there are no interference problems denies what plenty of folks in the wireless industry see every day. He also uses WiFi as an example that interference isn’t a problem — which is news to anyone who has ever discovered just how much a problem interference can be on a WiFi system (I had to return a cordless phone that disconnected my home WiFi every time I took a call). I’m all for freeing up more spectrum, but the wireless industry needs to do a better job showing how they will deal with the interference issues, and proving that it really won’t be a problem. Let them come up with real solutions to the interference problems people see every day, and then, absolutely, let’s free up more spectrum.