My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Telecoms and White Spaces - A Man for All Seasons and the Big Bang Theory


Monday, September 27, 2010

Telecoms and White Spaces - A Man for All Seasons and the Big Bang Theory

The Editor, sir:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players

Shakespeare, As You Like It, II, 7

It seems that the Chief Man for All Seasons and Actor on this stage is FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Chairman Julius Genachowski, who must now be at home, a celebrated hero in the mind of many a simple hometown geek to Silicon Valley CEO, who must be reeling at the announcement last week, which I must say, I was following but would have missed, had it not been for my TechJamaica posse.

Folks, “Super” Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) will soon be a reality, thanks to the opening up of “White” Space Frequencies as stated in the article “FCC to open up vacant TV airwaves for broadband”, published Monday September 13, 12:35 am ET By JOELLE TESSLER, AP Technology Writer, Yahoo! News and now officially confirmed in the article “FCC officially frees TV white Space spectrum”, published Thursday September 23 2010, CNET News.

But wait Tech people and “Gadgette” Carletta Deleon aka The Pet Tales Chick aka “Dilly” from Smile Jamaica, the happening show on Television Jamaica, her doggie drool now all over her fab new Apple iPad! The hidden potential of the “White” Space Frequencies is best expressed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski himself: “We're hoping history will repeat itself; “White” Space Frequencies are a big deal for consumers and for investment and innovation”.

But more importantly, it helps to prove the following Economics Equation: “White” Space Frequencies + Crackdown on Illegal Internet downloading + Taxation of Internet Transactions = Increased Government Tax Revenue, The Big Bang Theory (2007 - ?) Style as per the CBS show

The REAL news that what makes this Yahoo! News article even worth a read for Techies and Non-Tech people, and I mean a serious I-got-to-sit-down-and-read-this type of article, is that not only will the United States of America be making “White” Space Frequency Spectrum License free to Equipment Vendors to use

Just like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) is already free, but devices using these “White” Space Frequencies will be coming out by the Summer of 2011, just in time for CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2011, products that will wash ashore to Jamaica by the Christmas of 2011, specifically in consumer electronics gadgets that use Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n)!

John Public is still swilling the Champaign as I assess the scope of this announcement, which has the potential to make Telecom Provider Digicel 4G Broadband Network using 2.5 GHz WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) as stated in the article “Digicel all set to unveil 4G Broadband offering”, published Friday, August 13, 2010 by AL EDWARDS, the Jamaica Observer, and their pricey modems look obsolete, if not expensive paperweights.

Best of all, the Rebel Alliance, a parody and play on the George Lucas Movie Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace parodied by the names of Wayne Chen and Lee’s owned Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 801.11n) Networks Dekal Wireless [a Droid] as stated  in the article “Wayne Chen, Lees enter Wireless Broadband Market”, published Friday July 30th 2010 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Financial Gleaner.

Ditto too the upstart Nubian-1 Tech Services Ltd [Princess Amidala’s Royal starship] as stated in the article “Another small player emerges in the wireless broadband market”, published Friday August 2 2010 by Mark Titus, gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner get handed the victory long before the busy Black Thursday Pre-Christmas shopping rush ensues.

This is truly, a very long fought victory for the customer and started ever since the United States of America went Digital, broadcasting Radio and Television in HDTV (High Definition Television) format. This new “Super” Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) based on “White” Space Frequencies may in fact, unlike WiMaX, be the true Last Mile Solution to High Speed Wireless Broadband and the Big Bang that will jumpstart Universal Adoption of the Internet.

But just what are “White” Space Frequencies? John Public puts on his Telecom Technician hat and attempts a simple explanation that won’t waste pages in the Newspaper.

Simply put, NTSC (National Television Systems Committee) Standard Television signals have spaces in-between them that were allocated as “breaks” between each of the 6 MHz wide Channels in case the Television Transmission Local Oscillator began to drift, so as to prevent cross-interference between channels

This is akin to the white lines and Separating floats in an Olympic Sized Swimming Pool (People, get in Gear for London Olympics 2012 in July 27th 2012AD!). Television has truly come a long way. From the 1880’s research of German Scientist Paul Nipkow to improvements by C. Francis Jenkins and John L. Baird in 1925, the mechanical concept of scanning and synchronization made these early attempts at transmitting images crude by today’s HD standards.

It was not until RCA (Radio Corporation of America) Engineer Vladimir K. Zworykin use of an electronics scanning technique that the mechanical element of theses earlier attempts were replaced with Electronics scanning methods and the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) was born, the origin of the word “Tube” in YouTube.

The 1940 then saw breakneck development in what was then a nascent technology marvel that, like  most early technology, was only available initially to the wealthy, or “early adopters” as we call them today. 1941 saw the first commercial Monochrome Broadcasts (Black and White for regular folks!).

FCC in 1945, at the end of World War II, saw the ratification and definition of frequencies for both Commercial and Civilian uses, inclusive of what we now call FM (Frequency Modulation) frequencies, AM (Amplitude Modulation) Frequencies with additional VHF (Very High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequencies) being assigned as well in the years 1948 and 1952.

In 1974, the FCC made a quantum leap of faith and allocated UHF channels 73 to 83, effectively the frequencies 824 MHz to 890 MHz, to Terrestrial Commercial Mobile Radio Services, the forerunner of what we call Mobile or Cellular Services today.

Coincidentally, Telecom Provider CLARO 3G (HSDPA 7.2) and Telecom Provider LIME 3G (HSDPA 7.2) Broadband Wireless Internet Service in Jamaica uses the 850 MHz Band, excellent spectrum allocation choices that relates rather closely to the potential of “White” Space Frequencies: Their long range power and the transmission being unaffected by the steel and concrete and their well-documented signal attenuating properties.

But it was not until 1953 that the FCC adopted the NTSC standard for Colour transmission, bring us now into the modern era of TechniColor and DeLuxe Colour schema that made Americans Actors in Hollywood look………well……..White and Black actors look ……….well……..Black.

Big improvement over Black and White Television, John Public gripes sarcastically, the above information courtesy of the article “Electronics Communication Systems – Fundamentals through Advanced, Third Edition”, published 1998 by Wayne Tomasi, Mesa Community College, Prentice Hall Inc. Simon & Schuster/A Viacom Company, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458, ch. 11, pg. 403 – 405, ISBN 0-13-751439-5. Check BitTorrent today!

Still, throught these developments, many were tad concerned about that entire waste spectrum between the various UHF and VHF Spectrum allocations for channels.

With this announcement, these concerns are now a thing of the past, as once again, like the transitioning to HDTV Broadcasting for both Television and Radio in 2009, the FCC has brought all of America kicking and screaming into the 21st Century whether they like it or not.

This new announcement, however, will allow for the utilization of these “White” Space Frequencies left over from the transition to Digital or DSO (Digital Switch Over), a transition that the Broadcasting Commission is yet to commit to as stated in the article “Slow road to digital switch-over  - Cable groups mum; Flow ahead but network coverage behind”, published: Saturday  August 15, 2009 by Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Even so, the United States of America was a tad late, with EU bloc countries such as Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium Austria already building out their Digital with the United Kingdom is now doing a region-by-region switch over, scheduled to be completed by 2012.

Potential uses include everything from providing Last Mile Broadband services to Remote Telemetry and Remote Access Services as it relates to consumer electronics gear already configured with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n), literally making Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) the “Internet of Things”, so to speak, beating RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), the previously reputed “Internet of Things”, to the punch.

This explains Google’s and Microsoft’s excitement and participation in mapping “White” Space Frequencies as stated in the article “Google wants to build 'White spaces' Database”, published January 4, 2010 5:54 PM PST by Tom Krazit, CNET News - Relevant Results.

It would also explain, for those conspiracy crazy among us, why like GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) Services and Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) smart phones are now a standard according to a report that ABI Research published in March 2010, stated in the article “Wi-Fi smart phones to dominate”, published March 23, 2010 3:01 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - CTIA 2010.

Much to the dismay of naïve so-called WiMaX Group CEO of Telecom Provider Digicel, Alex Boothroyd, who did not do his research and foresee ANY of this happening.

The research firm, In-Stat, expands this further, however, to a virtual armada of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled devices. In-Stat projects the prevalence of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled smart phones, Netbooks and laptops to increase from five million (5,000,000) to sixty five million (65,000,000) by 2014 based on statistical data collected from Research firm In-Stat in May 2010 as stated in the article “More people buying Wi-Fi enabled devices”, published May 4, 2010 10:03 AM PDT by Lance Whitney CNET News – Wireless.

The strongest growth area being smart phones, projected to be embedded in five hundred and fifteen million (515,000,000) such devices.

Even “feature” phones without Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) can get the capability, the Japanese using the clever route of the MicroSD card as stated in the article “Wi-Fi finds back door into ordinary cell phones”, published July 23, 2009 3:04 PM PDT by Mats Lewan CNET News – Crave, further lending credence to In-Stat’s claims.

WiGig for high speed transfers between DVR (Digital Video Recorders) and 3-D HDTV (High Definition Televisions) as stated in the article “Wi-Fi to cultivate speedy 60GHz band”, published May 11, 2010 11:08 AM PDT by Dong Ngo, CNET News – Wireless.

Don’t forget Wi-Fi Direct which turns every W-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) modem in every smart phone or Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled device into a Mobile Hotspot, is also available with a simple firmware upgrade on a “jail broken” smart phone.

“Jail breaking” by the way now being fully legal in the United States of America as stated in the article “Apple: Jailbreaking an iPhone will (still) violate your warranty”, published Tuesday 27 July 2010 by Ben Patterson, Technology Writer, Yahoo! News and further elucidate in the article “On Call: Go ahead an jailbreak, its legal now”, published July 27, 2010 2:20 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In.

Frank Dickson, In-Stat's Vice President of Research, puts it all into perspective when he rounds up his research firm’s finding by stating “Wi-Fi swept through the computing Market, driven by the need to access and share broadband connectivity. That same consumer desire is now resulting in Wi-Fi adoption across the entire range of connected consumer electronics, driving significant Wi-Fi volumes. The ubiquitous adoption of Wi-Fi in consumer electronics is Wi-Fi's manifest destiny.”

Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) “Manifest Destiny” is now. 100 MBps Wireless Broadband Internet will soon be possible in the United States of America, fulfilling the wish of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski as stated in the article “100MBps broadband may be closer than you think”, published March 8, 2010 4:00 AM PST by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength, and reiterated in the article “FCC Chairman wants faster broadband”, published February 17, 2010 10:05 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Politics and Law.

Good news for the 40% of Americans without Broadband based on the survey conducted by the Census Bureau on behalf of the  National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) earlier in the First Quarter of 2010 as stated in the article “Survey: 40 percent in U.S. have no broadband”, published February 16, 2010 10:11 AM PST by Lance Whitney, CNET News – Wireless.

A pre-election 2011 boost to the embattled Obama Administration in its drive to bring penetration levels closer to the nearly 90% penetration level of Finland, for whom High Speed Broadband Access is a Right, Right up there with Electricity and Water as stated in the article “You gotta fight for your right to Broadband”, published Thursday July 1 2010 by Christopher Null, Technology Writer, Yahoo! News.

The noted gradual decreases by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) in broadband prices and corresponding increases in educational performances and gender equality as stated in the article “Mobile, broadband prices dropping worldwide”, published February 24, 2010 9:43 AM PST by Lance Whitney CNET News - Digital Media.

The declaration of persons involved in a BBC survey that indicate that 78% believe that access to broadband internet should be a fundamental right, as suggested in the article “BBC survey: Net access is basic right”, published March 8, 2010 8:04 AM PST by Andrew Nusca, CNET News – Digital Media.

This is an indication that things can only improve as the Telecoms Networks ramp up their deployments for WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) as stated in the article “Clearwire brings limited 4G to New York and Los Angeles”, published September 13, 2010 2:15 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In.

Also LTE (Long Term Evolution) as stated in the article “AT&T, Verizon execs talk LTE expansion”, published September 16, 2010 11:05 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In is set to benefit from these license free “White” Space Frequencies.

Granted, in the Second Quarter of 2010, Broadband penetration, according to the Pew Research Center out of Princeton Survey Research Associates, has reached what appears to be a saturation point slowing down a bit as stated in the article “Broadband growth slows in the U.S.”, published August 12, 2010 9:13 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Digital Media.

On a positive note, more Black people are beginning to catch the Internet fever affecting White people, a blunt assertion driven home by the same Pew Research Center as stated in the article “Broadband adoption slows down, but blacks catch up”, published Wednesday September 8 2010 by PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer, Yahoo! News.

Wilmington N.C., (North Carolina) and the surrounding areas of New Hanover N.C. have the privilege of wearing their guinea pig suits to test out a Wireless Broadband Network based on these “White” Space Frequencies as stated in the article “TV White Space Networks tested”, published February 24, 2010 4:06 PM PST by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength.

Even the Governments of Canada and the Government of Australia have realized the importance of increasing access to Wired and Wireless Broadband as stated in the article “Canada Telcos told to extend Broadband services”, published Tuesday August 31, 6:09 pm ET By Alastair Sharp, Yahoo! News and as stated in the article “Australia ebarks on great Broadband adventure”, published Sunday September 27, 2009 12:10AM EDT By Amy Coopes, SYDNEY, AFP, Yahoo! News respectively.

But most relevant to us here in Jamaica, if products are to grace the stages of CES Show in January 2011.

By then Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 801.11n) Networks Dekal Wireless [a Droid] as stated  in the article “Wayne Chen, Lees enter Wireless Broadband Market”, published Friday July 30th 2010 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner and upstart Nubian-1 Tech Services Ltd [Princess Amidala’s Royal starship] as stated in the article “Another small player emerges in the wireless broadband market”, published Friday August 2 2010 by Mark Titus, gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner can upgrade their networks to use these frequencies.

Thus expanding their coverage without having to build out additional coverage, with the range of Wi-Fi (IEEE 801.11n) coverage extended to even be equivalent to those of Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO 3G Wireless Broadband Internet coverage range of up to 32 km radius.

Throw in the fact that owners of Wi-Fi (IEEE 801.11n) enabled Laptops, Netbooks and smart phones can upgrade their Wi-Fi (IEEE 801.11n) with a firmware upgrade and Blu-Ray players are shipping with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n).

The future is beginning to look rather bleak for 3G and WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d) as entrepreneurs rush to set up Municipal Wi-Fi (IEEE 801.11n) Networks and customers in Jamaica see a dramatic drop in the price of Wireless Broadband – without being encumbered with the need to purchase a modem, which if one has to, costs only JA$2500 on average.

But the thing that brings me greatest joy is that this adoption of “White” Space Frequencies for use in Wi-Fi (IEEE 801.11n) puts pressure on our Local Big Three (3) Broadcasters, namely RJR Communication Group, CVM Communication Group and LOVE TV/Radio to pressure the Broadcasting Commission to go DSO.

Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) can also act as a communication layer for Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) enabled Blu-Ray players and the potential of these “White” Space Frequencies is huge for persons wishing to get into the Wireless Broadband Telecoms Market in Jamaica License Free.

Couple with IP address blocking and shutdown of illegal download websites, Digital Music and Video Piracy, long the bone of contention that the RIAA (Recording Industry Artiste Association) and the MPAA (Motion Picture Artiste Association) have against the Telecom Providers and ISP (Internet Service Providers), could potentially be eliminated from the United States of America and Jamaica.

Thus paying the way for increased revenues for content providers – and more Internet Sales Taxes for the respective Governments of the United States of America and Jamaica and all other countries seeking to go DSO and thus utilize these till now underutilized “White” Space Frequencies.

Thus it is proven: “White” Space Frequencies + Crackdown on Illegal Internet downloading + Taxation of Internet Transactions = Increased Government Tax Revenue. QED. That, folks, is quite a The Big Bang Theory (2007 - ?) as per the CBS show, of “White” Space Frequencies and its future potential!
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