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Global Group Established to Promote Spectrum Sharing

Interest in TV band white space is not limited to the United States. This week 23 companies and organizations from across the world announced formation of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance. The organization will “promote regulatory policies that pave the way for innovative new wireless technologies that address growing wireless data and digital divide challenges.”

These “Dynamic Spectrum Access” technologies can opportunistically exploit otherwise unused and inefficiently used while space spectrum to provide various forms of wireless connectivity. The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance will focus on promoting laws and regulations to ensure that spectrum technology can extend rural broadband, support the development of “smart cities”, and help ensure consumers and their devices have wireless bandwidth when and where needed.

“Whether you look at how TV white spaces are being put to use to serve under-served communities in Africa, or how the technology is creatively used in one of the biggest ports to lower costs, it is clear that it can have an immediate effect on people’s lives today,” said Pete Henderson, chairman of Indigo Telecom. “A large role for the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance will be educating regulators on consumer benefits that can be derived from enabling this technology.”

James Collier, co-founder of Neul, added: “We are delighted to see more and more regulators taking up the spectrum solutions on offer. We hope the example of the Singapore Infocomm Development Authority is picked up by others and we look forward to partnering with regulators around the world in developing effective legal frameworks for spectrum sharing.”

At the inaugural Global Summit on Dynamic Spectrum Access and TV White Spaces at the Singapore Island Country Club, the Singapore White Spaces Pilot Group announced it had begun its next wave of TV white spaces commercial pilot deployments in Singapore. The first pilots were launched in 2012. The SWSPG pilots are authorized under a test license from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and utilize a TVWS Geo-location Database developed specifically for Singapore by Microsoft, with advice and inputs from IDA.

Tracy Hopkins, corporate VP of Neul, added her thoughts about the pilot project: “The benefits of using TVWS technology are tremendous, be it to support 'smart city' infrastructure, to extend connectivity into previously challenging environments or to enable ubiquitous, reliable wireless connectivity that will enhance our lives. Alongside the commercial pilots, it is essential for the SWSPG and others to look at how this innovative technology really can make a difference in delivering a smarter, greener and safer environment for us all, the applications are only as big as our imaginations.”

Most of the TV white space deployments in the United States have been in isolated rural areas. TV white space is scarce to non-existent in many U.S. urban areas. With the repacking to come after the completion of the FCC's Incentive Auction, even less spectrum will be available for TVWS. It’s interesting to see how other countries have taken the approach of using TVWS for a wide variety of applications, rather than eliminate it in an attempt to satiate cell phone and wireless carriers unbounded appetite for spectrum.