2021: A year of hope for connectivity

Whilst 2020 has been a year of uncertainty, I have never been more certain of the industry’s commitment to accelerating access to connectivity worldwide. Last year highlighted the critical need for a connection during a crisis. We have relied on it to continue education, work, healthcare as well as entertainment and social activities with friends and families. We have grown to depend on this fundamental connection line and as more technologies, use cases and applications come onto the market the demand is growing exponentially and only innovation and engagement with regulators will make this possible.

Thankfully, a connection has been our own lifeline as I have attended many virtual events with multi-stakeholder organizations and regulatory bodies worldwide. It also enabled the DSA to host its eighth annual Global Summit online which saw a record number of over 500 registrants from government, academic institutions as well as non-profit and profit companies across many regions worldwide; Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Our ability to adapt and our willingness to further dynamic spectrum sharing has contributed to a year of acceleration of spectrum sharing initiatives worldwide.

Some highlights include:

  • This year 4 countries adopted unlicensed access to the 6 GHz band (USA, UK, Republic of Korea and Chile)
  • 40 regulatory responses to many countries worldwide on different spectrum sharing opportunities (UK, US, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Costa Rica, Honduras, Slovenia, and more!)
  • Over 30 virtual events attended where the DSA presented
  • Numerous international multi-stakeholder events attended (Different ITU, CITEL, ATU and CEPT meetings).
  • 3 new studies and whitepapers published on the potential and economic value of 6 GHz
  • 2 webinars hosted by the DSA with our members Loon and Microsoft, about Dynamic Spectrum in Aerospace Networks and the latest advances on TVWS respectively.
  • 1 Global Summit hosted virtually with a record-breaking number of attendees!
  • 9 industry feature articles and 12 DSA blogs published

In 2020, the DSA submitted a record number of regulatory filings worldwide and it will continue to maintain this commitment as we enter a New Year of continued uncertainty together. We have never been more driven towards our mission and it has never been more relevant than now to take action as a collective industry.

The focus for some of 2021 will still be on virtual events from our living rooms, continued engagement and collaboration with multi-stakeholder organizations and regulatory bodies as well as new achievements and successes to celebrate as spectrum sharing progress is made worldwide.

The DSA will continue to promote unlicensed access to the 6 GHz band to meet an unprecedented demand for Wi-Fi. More than half of internet connections start or end with a Wi-Fi connection, according to Cisco, making this an integral demand to address. We are already seeing a great momentum in consultation. In early 2021, the DSA will start submitting comments to consultations about the future of the 6 GHz band. Just in January we have deadlines for comments in Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Canada and Jordan!

We will also certainly continue positioning the DSA as the only global organization focused on promoting spectrum sharing innovation to get the most out of our wireless resources. We will advocate for dynamic spectrum access and spectrum sharing opportunities in different frequency bands (UHF, mid-band, 6 GHz, mmWaves), with different technologies and spectrum sharing frameworks (TVWS, CBRS, TSSM, Stratospheric platforms, etc.). The Alliance will also keep promoting a balanced regulatory approach between licensed, unlicensed, and lightly licensed, to enable making unused spectrum available for broadband.

We believe there is every opportunity to continue the momentum that we have witnessed in 2020 and every hope for individuals who could benefit from the possibilities of a connection line.