My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: OfCom approves White Spaces usage in Britain - Why Digital Switch Over in Jamaica is Necessary for Unlicensed White Space Frequencies

Saturday, March 7, 2015

OfCom approves White Spaces usage in Britain - Why Digital Switch Over in Jamaica is Necessary for Unlicensed White Space Frequencies

“Spectrum is an important but limited resource, which is why we're exploring new ways of unlocking its potential, while balancing the needs of different users”

Ofcom Spectrum Group Director Philip Marnick on the offering of White Space Frequencies for Data Services being offered by Telecom Providers

White Space Frequency usage is finally coming to Britain, of all places.

Faced with a Spectrum crunch in that country as their population gets increasingly addicted to faster and faster Wireless Broadband, British Telecoms regulator Ofcom has approved the use of White Space frequencies as reported in the article “White Space broadband approved by the UK to squeeze Internet connection in between TV channels”, published 12 February 2015 3:18 pm by Rich Trenholm, CNET News.

White Spaces are the 4 GHz block of frequency in-between the 6 GHz block of spectrum allocated for NTSC (National Television Standard Committee) Television Broadcasting, more commonly called channels. In the case of the Britain, the TV Channels 61-69 (798-862MHz) have been assigned for LTE mobile use as reported in the article “What is White Space?”, published 2015 by Centre for White Space Communications, Wireless White Space.

Most of the TV band, mainly Channels 21-60 in the UK or 470-790MHz will be designated “interleaved” spectrum; unlicensed users may interleave their transmissions in the White Spaces between the licensed NTSC Channels.

Thus, it may potentially be possible for anyone that wants to set up a Broadcast channel for use as a Community Wireless White Space Data service to provide everything from Streaming TV, VoIP (Voice over IP) or plain Broadband Internet.

Britain OfCom following US FCC – White Spaces also available to unlicensed Commercial Operators

Good to note that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), the Telecoms Regulator in the USA, had approved White Space usage since 2013. 

The process had actually began back in September 2010 when the FCC made White Spaces a priority as noted in the article “FCC officially frees TV White Space spectrum”, published September 23, 2010 11:38 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News.

The FCC in giving approval for White Space usage, also in June 2014 gave Google the Authority to set up a White Spaces database to keep track of which blocks of spectrum were empty and which were in use as noted in the article “FCC approves Google's 'White Space' database operation”, published June 30, 2013 2:41 PM PDT by Steven Musil, CNET News.

The FCC had also made provision for the use of White Spaces by unlicensed operators as noted in the article “White Space Database Administration”, viewed 07.03.2015 by Lindsworth Deer, FCC.

Jamaica and White Spaces - Digital Switch Over is not Necessary for Unlicensed usage of White Space Frequencies

Thus it's not surprising that the British, in finally approving White Space Frequencies to meet to demand for faster 4G LTE Broadband services such as those being tested by Huawei as noted in my blog article entitled “Huawei’s 4G LTE Advanced Test – How Quad-Band Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 on EE's Network achieved 410MBps Download via inefficient Spectrum Aggregation”.

When Jamaica finally goes MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and LNP (Landline number Portability) by Sunday May 31st 2015 as noted in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell affirms MNP, LNP Coming May 31st 2015 - Why NPA TPPR, IXP Deadline and VoIP Registration herald MNP, LNP for NANP Number Ranges and Competition”, will there also be an announcement about the licensing and auctioning of White Space Frequencies?

This would definitely encourage FDI (Foreign Direct Investors), other Telecom Providers and Local Entrepreneurs to utilize these commercial Spectrum to set up their own private Telecom Data Networks to compete against the coming launch of 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) from Telecom Providers Digicel and LIME.

So albeit DSO (Digital Switch Over) is being delayed by the Broadcaster as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “The Future of Free-to-Air Broadcasters in Jamaica as Digital Switch Over Approaches in 2015” it isn't necessary to start the utilization of the White Space Frequencies in-between the Analog NTSC Standard Television Channels.

Licensed and Unlicensed users of White Space Frequencies can use these frequencies, even now, as they do not belong to the Broadcasters and only need a monitoring facility and a Database set up by the SMA (Spectrum Management Authority) to ensure that the operators using these White Spaces Frequencies do not have signal drift and cause cross-interference with the operations of the Broadcasters.

If they follow OfCom Spectrum Group in Britain and the FCC in the USA and make provision for unlicensed commercial usage, then it will finally bring the much need competition.

This coming competition riding on a wave of low cost White Space Spectrum would result in the lowering of prices in Data that Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Philip Paulwell has so long spoken a noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Jamaica goes 4G LTE as Minister Paulwell prepares Third Data Telecom Provider entrant

So, White Space Frequencies for Licensed and Unlicensed Operators, anyone?


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