back to article FCC ferrets around for spare spectrum

The FCC is asking for suggestions in the hunt for more radio spectrum, having established that there's not going to be enough to support the next generation of broadband requirements. The US regulator wants ideas for making better use of all the spectrum below 3.7GHz, and it wants them by 13 November 13. It's asking (pdf) for …

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Boffin

Stink out of the box

New devices need to communicate through entirely different media. I suggest a fart gas modulator which can be inserted into the anus. Nearby nostril phones will pick up messages and route them via further emissions. The whole thing would be quite eco friendly, being powered mostly by cabbages and eggs.

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Excess spectrum holdings by some carriers

There is one three letter abbreviation carrier in the US that has excessive spectrum (much greater than 30 MHz) in some markets.

I suggest that, in those markets, said carrier wouldn't be able to aquire any more spectrum, and use their excess spectrum to roll out whatever services they want, but not get new spectrum.

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Pirate

so

the switch to digital TV here in the US was nothing more than a congressionally mandated reason to sell new TV sets? Go figure.

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Silver badge
Paris Hilton

All you can eat?

"the average laptop consumes about 13GB every 30 days or so."

If that was all that then it wouldn't really be a problem: it's only about 20 MB an hour so not much more than 900 MHz GSM can guarantee, assuming my mental arithmetic isn't totally buggereed.

But, of course, there is Paris' law: porn always expands faster than the available bandwidth. (Wish I had a good euphemism for that). And, to extend the tenuous metaphor, bandwidth bursts don't last for very long: we get through our GB in a couple of hours at most.

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Coat

I've got a suggestion...

They never should have sold any spectrum, just leased it so that it could be reclaimed when the unforseen came along.

Mine's the one with my old 3rd Class Commercial in the pocket.

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Grenade

Hiding to nothing

We, the human race, have access to precisely 1.0 electromagnetic spectra. It is a strictly limited resource which cannot simply be extended at will.

We seem, though, to be able to "use" (if that's not too serious a word for some of the "uses" we see proposed) an exponentially increasing amount of spectrum.

To put it bluntly, then, neither the FCC nor our own non-regulator Ofcom can simply collect the cash from an endless stream of would-be "users" of the spectrum, much as they would no doubt like to do so. There simply isn't room for them all. If these "regulators" are truly incapable of distinguishing between services genuinely useful to society as a whole, which clearly deserve spectrum space, and the commercial froth which wants to overfill the spectrum with seventy seven shades of timewasting tat, which are at best optional extras, then it's time for them to do the Darwinian thing and become extinct, to be replaced with something which is a little more in touch with reality.

In short, as long as spectrum "regulation" is conceived of as some sort of market activity, where they get to flog spectrum to all comers, they are on a hiding to nothing. They cannot succeed. Their model is inapplicable. Instead of pleading for clever ideas to cram as much crap as possible into our 1.0 spectra, they need to prioritise allocations according to socially determined criteria, rather than according to which commercial entities can stuff the most greenery into their coffers. We live in a limited physical world, guys, not an indefinitely expandable free market. Get used to it, or go.

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Go

Do what they did to Public Safety radio

Decree NARROW bandwidth.

o o__ === o o__ == == ==____ == ==__ == == ==__o === o__ o o o__o

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Alien

"we look forward to hearing what the American on the street has to say on the matter"

The American on the street doesn't even begin to understand what spectrum is. To 99% of them, they just expect to be able to do whatever they are trying to do. How it works doesn't mather one bit to them and they certainly don't have the knowledge to understand we might run out of spectrum. It's like air, it's infinite ...

The real question is who will be made to give up bandwidth.

Probably not the aliens

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Big Brother

Better use of the existing spectrum

If they didn't insist on centralized control by large companies (that are also conveniently controllable by the governments), this is a problem that obviously shouldn't exist. The network should use variable power transmitters that provide relay services to each other. As the density of devices in the network increases, you reduce the local broadcast power and have smaller and smaller cells.

This is technically feasible with reliable local accounting to deal with freeloaders, but there would be much less high-level control, which makes it anathema to big companies and their pet governments. Ergo, no reason to submit it for consideration. It might happen anyway because of economic compulsion, but don't hold your breath waiting for any large companies to jump on this bandwagon...

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@ All You Can Eat?

20MB an hour may not seem like much, but you're only looking at the client side, not the spectrum saturation level if *everyone* is generating this much data simultaneously, over fair distances.

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Power reductions...

... already happen. That's been part of cellular design from the outset in order to maximise efficiency and minimise adjacent cell interference.

The average urban/suburban cell is only transmitting a few milliwatts and often you'll find that an active mobile in close proximity to a cell (such as one on top of a school) is transmitting with less than 1mW Tx power (Which kind of puts a spike in the chicken littles of the world. that 1mW next to a child's head gives a RF field several thousand times times stronger than being a few metres away from a 20W transmitter mast - but urban infill transmitter masts (especially in areas like schools) seldom if ever transmit with more than 1W aggregate because they're talking to mobiles usually only up to 300 metres away.

The problem is there is a minimum size you can go to for a cell and there's a maximum number of calls or data throughput each cell can handle in any given spectrum allocation. Urban cells are regularly running beyond saturation points in many areas.

BTW: The data figures seem about right, if not small to me. I'm seeing a lot of people complain about hitting data caps on mobile broadband connections before the month's even half gone.

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FAIL

Needs Versus Wants

They might WANT all that bandwidth but is it really NEEDED?

People will have to get used to the fact that they cant have everything instantly - if they could what would they do with it?

And WHY must all this bandwidth be radio? Wires work, Optics work, hell even sonics work.

Sounds like someone had invested a way to appear busy while they hunt for what is not there to be had and make a noise about it.

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Anonymous Coward

For the Americans

I suggest the usage of the 10^19 spectrum, this would solve not just the US's problem, but also the rest of the worlds, I can fully see that the Americans would utilize the Gamma Ray spectrum without any qualms about health issues or enviromental issues, whilst probably directing their spare capacity at Mexico or Britain which gullably swallow any American codswallop going.

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