Open Spectrum? Bah, Who Needs It!
from the wifi-anyone? dept
That's an interesting viewpoint, given the massive success of WiFi to-date in (oh, look at that!) open, unlicensed spectrum. The news report doesn't go into much detail, but the full report, available at the group's site uses up many pages of their report trashing those who believe in a "commons approach" to spectrum allocation. This approach, which has some big name backers, says that spectrum isn't a scarce resource, and with the right technology, there's no reason to license spectrum at all. While this idea is compelling, it's that "with the right technology" part that's the kicker. That technology that doesn't quite exist yet. Interference still is an issue -- though, it would be nice for it to not always be that way. However, in focusing their attack solely on the supporters of such an approach, the report totally brushes aside the evidence that their claims are wrong. WiFi has been a perfect example of the success of unlicensed spectrum -- and it seems pretty clear that it was the openness of the spectrum that increased investment and increased innovation in the WiFi space, in direct contrast to the report's claims (which brushes aside the WiFi example, suggesting that it would have worked better had it taken place in paid for, licensed spectrum). While open, unlicensed spectrum clearly does not make sense in all accounts (as long as interference still is around) to brush it aside completely, as this report appears to do is pretty questionable and misleading. The real issue is how competition is defined. For the report's authors, competition is seen as being between different owners of spectrum. However, what WiFi has shown, is that competition works within the same bit of open spectrum -- because of the openness. Can it lead to interference? Absolutely. But, depending on the application, some amount of interference can be fine -- as it is with most basic WiFi implementations. Of course, it's also worth noting that PFF is a well known opponent to muni-broadband efforts -- and getting rid of more open spectrum (which is used for most muni-broadband offerings) would support that cause as well.