The DSA congratulates Brazil

Yesterday, the 25th of February, the board of commissioners of ANATEL has decided to open the complete 5925-7124 MHz band (6 GHz band) for unlicensed access by restricted radiation devices. This decision places Brazil in a leadership position worldwide, as a hub for development of new technologies, enabling innovation, new use cases and considerable benefits for Brazilians and the national economy. DSA celebrates this decision and is convinced that unlicensed access to the 6 GHz band will benefit Brazilian businesses and consumers by providing sufficient Wi-Fi capacity for data intensive video applications, 4G and 5G (data) offloading, and for allowing users to take full advantage of the new applications enabled by the large channel sizes available with the new Wi-Fi-6E generation of equipment.

Image by David Peterson from Pixabay

By 2030, Brazil will see huge economic benefits, through optimising the use of the 6 GHz band. According to the study requested by the DSA, the economic value of enabling unlicensed access to the 5925-7125 MHz band in Brazil will increase to $163.5 billion. Furthermore, Latin American countries in general could also see those benefits, according to the latest studies they could be $150.27 billion in Mexico and $40.42 in Colombia. These last two countries, as well as Honduras, Costa Rica, Canada, Peru and Argentina already had public consultations about the future of the 6 GHz band and regulatory decisions are expected this year.

Regarding the available equipment ecosystem, it is worth mentioning that last year the FCC certified the first Wi-Fi 6E chipset and its first 6 GHz Wi-Fi device. FCC has currently certified multiple Access Points that operate in the 1200 MHz of the 6 GHz band. In early January of 2021, the Wi-Fi Alliance began certifying Wi-Fi 6E devices, paving the way for new gadgets that can transmit across the entire 6 GHz band. Currently there are 14 Wi-Fi 6E certified devices and many Wi-Fi 6E products have being announced at this year’s (virtual) Consumer Electronics Show from marks like Linksys, Nighthawk®, Netgear and TP-LINK . On January 14th, Samsung announced a new mobile phone that incorporated a Wi-Fi 6E client. In light of this momentum, the research firm IDC has forecast that more than 316 million Wi-Fi 6E devices will enter the market in 2021 and shipments will rise rapidly over the next three years. Following Brazil’s decision DSA companies and Wi-Fi 6E manufacturers are ready to deliver chipsets and start producing and introducing equipment in the Brazilian market.

By optimising the use of 6 GHz and allowing unlicensed spectrum access, it can be freed for use by other devices without interference, ensuring that incumbent services are protected and given room to thrive and grow within the band. This results in more opportunity for connectivity through unlicensed operations across the 6 GHz band, promotes the development of cutting-edge technology and contributes an estimated global economic impact of around US$4.9 trillion by 2025. According to our economic study, in 2021 Brazil’s number of lines in excess of 150Mbps is 1.05% but it is predicted that by 2030 it will be up to 44%. Colombia and Mexico are following the same prospects, with Colombia at 3.29% and Mexico at 3.35% in 2021, this is set to rise to 25.72% and 25.39% by 2030.

The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) highlights the Brazilian decision and calls for more unlicensed spectrum to be dedicated to Wi-Fi networks and wireless devices, in order to use the 6 GHz band to it’s full potential. This will improve the experience for residential and corporate use, but also enable better opportunities for rural and underserved areas to become connected. Spectrum sharing in the 6 GHz band allows for crucial contributions to be made to the development of next generation dynamic spectrum management in the form of network innovation. The DSA strongly encourages the adoption of regulations to support its deployment and is dedicated to driving the movement so that reliable connectivity can be achieved world over.

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.

DSA Global Summit 2020

A record-breaking recap


Last month, we hosted our eighth annual DSA Global Summit, which saw a record attendance of over 500 registrants. Being the first virtual Global Summit in history, we were delighted to welcome over 160 representatives from government and academic institutions. Representing various regions worldwide, it was great to come together to drive spectrum sharing forward alongside many non-profit and profit organisations. Thank you to everyone who attended to share their insights and progress the future of dynamic spectrum sharing.

There, we discussed a wide range of spectrum innovations, from TV White Space (TVWS), Citizens Broadband Radio Services (CBRS) and Wi-Fi 6 to 3D spectrum management in mmWaves. Especially productive was the focus on unlicensed access to the 6 GHz and the importance of this for the benefit of worldwide economy, society and next-generation Wi-Fi deployment to meet growing capacity demands.

With different regions across the world facing different spectrum sharing challenges and approaching various opportunities, it was great to see so many attendees from all over. Individuals from Europe, Africa, South America and North America joined us virtually to listen to the variety of topics and speakers on the agenda. We were also honoured by having some attendees from Asia and the Middle East which made this year’s Global Summit a truly global event at a time when staying connected is so important for everyone across the world.

The DSA Awards were announced at the event, recognizing the efforts of individuals who are committed to furthering innovation, accelerating digital inclusion and exploring new opportunities for dynamic spectrum access. Congratulations to all our winners!

  • Mercy Wanjau, Ag. Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya (Innovation in Dynamic Spectrum Access Policies)
  • Vladimir Handal, Secretario de Innovacion, Gobierno De El Salvador (Increasing Digital Innovation)
  • Paul Garnett, Founder and CEO, The Vernonburg Group (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Padre Eduardo González Gil, O. P., Vicerrector Académico General; Mrs. Olga Macias Muñoz, Decano de Ingeniería de Telecomunicaciones; Mrs. Lucía Ostos, Directora and Tatiana Zona, researcher; Universidad Santo Tomas (Research on New Opportunities for Dynamic Spectrum Access)

We also released three new studies at the Summit! Firstly, we worked with Telecom Advisory Services LLC to assess the economic value of unlicensed used of the 6 GHz band in Brazil, and then Access Partnership to explore the role of Wi-Fi in Brazil as the key technology in meeting the increase in online activity due to restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Finally, we and Policy Impact Partners outlined how to achieve the full potential of 6 GHz spectrum in ITU Region 1: Europe, the Middle East and Africa. All of these studies are now available in full on our website.

The three-day Summit was a true success, and we are proud of the platform we have established for collaboration, especially amid a time when an event such as this seemed unlikely. I would like to thank all speakers, moderators and attendees for supporting our Global Summit, as well as France spectrum authorities for their offer to host our event this year. While we regret not being able to hold the in-person conference, we appreciate the support and look forward to making plans for next year! If you missed it, all Global Summit live and pre-recorded sessions are now available on-demand via our YouTube channel.

Dynamic Spectrum in Aerospace Networks

In September, we hosted our second DSA Webinar, this time on Dynamic Spectrum in Aerospace Networks. Sponsored by Loon, we were honoured to welcome their representatives, Jameson Dempsey and Wesley Eddy, to share their expert insight into the importance of spectrum sharing for the success and expansion of their initiative. Missed the webinar? Don’t worry – watch the recording on demand via Dynamic Spectrum Alliance’s YouTube channel.

Loon’s mission is to help operators extend the reach of their networks by integrating stratospheric balloons with fundamental cell tower technology, including an access and backhaul antenna, and flying them over the desired region – no matter how remote or rural. Flying 20 km in the air, mesh networks of Loon balloons leverage Machine Learning (ML) technology to ride the wind currents at different layers in the stratosphere, with each balloon staying aloft for approximately 5-6 months. When it is time for the balloons to come down, Loon collaborates with local civil aviation authorities to safely land and recover its equipment. Having flown for over 1 million hours and navigated 40 million km since 2013, this has become a robust system which has been tried, tested and improved over years of active production deployments. Although Loon specializes in advancing Stratospheric Internet Platforms, the technology underlying Loon’s network can support other types of networks, including LEO satellite constellations, terrestrial mesh networks and other advanced networks, to facilitate the extension of traditional internet and telecommunications applications.

When developing its system, Loon had to solve unique engineering challenges not faced by traditional ground-based networks. For example, traditional software-defined networking (SDN), designed for static nodes and devices, presents challenges for larger, highly dynamic aerospace networks with many moving nodes. When applied in the aerospace context, traditional SDN and ad-hoc networking systems can make poor decisions or even fail completely. Moreover, traditional SDN was not designed for radio frequency links and may create interference to incumbent networks.

To address these challenges, Loon has developed Temporospatial Software Defined Networking (Loon SDN), an architecture that leverages and analyses environmental data, radio propagation information, and regulatory requirements to continually predict the location of nodes in aerospace networks. This enables efficient radio resource management, the ability to route through dynamic mesh networks, and interference avoidance with other networks (e.g., satellites, fixed point-to-point links). Loon SDN allows operators to track the arrangement of physical platforms within the network; their orientation, predicted paths and radio configuration details; and how these meet user traffic demands. And Loon SDN is not just for Loon: the company has also partnered with Telesat to adapt Loon SDN for Telesat’s LEO satellite constellation.

As outlined in the Webinar, Loon’s TS-SDN technology can enable emerging connectivity solutions, such as stratospheric Internet platforms and non-geostationary satellite constellations, to coexist with each other and with incumbent networks in spectrum bands where those networks are deployed, such as the E-band and similar millimeter wave bands (Loon SDN is spectrum band and service type agnostic). In doing so, Loon SDN can help regulators address critical issues such as the digital divide by incorporating a variety of new and emerging aerospace connectivity solutions, without risking interference to incumbent systems.

In order to ensure that technologies such as Loon can flourish, it is important for regulators to adopt flexible and transparent licensing frameworks – such as database-supported and self-coordinated light-licensing – that can support the rapid deployment and coexistence of traditional ground-based and emerging aerospace networks. The DSA advocates for the harmonization of spectrum to facilitate Loon’s mission and hopes to see more applications served successfully by dynamic spectrum sharing as we work towards a better-connected future.

DSA Thanks Maniewicz for Presentation

Following our 8th annual Global Summit last week, the DSA would like to thank Mr. Mario Maniewicz, Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), for taking the stage and opening the event on Tuesday, November 3rd. Speaking to attendees at his session, he outlined the ITU’s response to the effects faced by the unconnected in a post COVID-19 world, addressing the different technologies and initiatives that are best suited for providing connectivity during these difficult times.


In his presentation, he advised spectrum authorities to incorporate the national regulatory framework standards approved by the ITU-R Study Groups and the changes made by WRC-19 into the national table of frequency allocation. Additionally, he encouraged them to contribute to the ongoing studies being conducted by the regional organizations of the ITU-R Study Groups in preparation for WRC-23 in order to build a long-term spectrum planning policy. He advised that the administrations should avoid defining a spectrum management policy short-term, as this may might be affected by the outcomes of the conference.


The latter statement could be understood as a message for those that assume that the upper part of the 6 GHz band (6425 – 7125 MHz) can be identified for IMT; there is no certainty surrounding this possibility, due to some services already operating in this band – this will only be decided during WRC-23.


Alternatively, his comment could be seen as a message for authorities in ITU Region 1 who are studying the upper part of the 6 GHz band (6425 – 7025 MHz) as an agenda item under consideration in the region, that includes Europe and Africa. While they could wait until WRC-23, regulators in Regions 2 and 3 have decided not to cover this agenda item, meaning that there are no ongoing studies in those regions which would restrict their progress in enabling unlicensed access. In fact, Regulators in Region 1, such as CEPT, are already in the process of opening the lower part of the bandas this portion is not under consideration for WRC-23; the 7025 to 7125 MHz frequency range is the only portion of the band that is under consideration globally, and it is up to regulators to decide if they reserve this 100 MHz segment until the end of WRC-23.


ITU-R is open to unlicensed access, enabling billions of people to use Wi-Fi networks and enjoy connectivity at home, at work and in public, and has been recognized by Radio Regulations in article 4.4. As Eric Fournier, Director for Spectrum Planning and International Affairs at ANFR France, said in response to a question following Mr. Maniewicz’s presentation “…what has been done in 6 GHz is fully in line with the Radio Regulations. We have already a mobile allocation in this band, so all administrations have the right to operate in this range…”


Mr. Maniewicz’s comment, which is a valid statement cautioning regulators not to make decisions on bands that are under study, was presented in a recent Policy Tracker article as a warning of the difficulties that unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band will harbor. From the DSA’s perspective and after confirmation with Mr. Maniewicz, this is not that case – the ITU Director’s comment is neutral and could be interpreted in a variety of different ways, none of which condemn the use of the 6 GHz band for unlicensed access. If you missed Mario’s session, we invite you to recap his full presentation here.

DSA Global Summit 2020

Explore the New-Found Potential of Spectrum Sharing at the DSA Virtual Global Summit 2020

Next week, we are excited to be hosting our 8th annual DSA Global Summit, from 3-5 November. Having made the decision to move the event online this year, we have adapted our agenda to cater to the ‘new normal’, bringing dynamic innovation, collaboration and debate from global regulators, policy makers, and industry leaders to you at home. Key highlights over the course of the Summit include discussions into regulation formation, challenges and strategy when deploying a range of spectrum sharing frameworks; from CBRS, license-exempt access to the 6 GHz band and TV Whitespace (TVWS), to the new possibilities of 3D spectrum sharing in the mmWaves. In doing so, we hope to inspire and cultivate solutions for both coverage and capacity as technology advances and the demand for connectivity rises. Especially in our current climate, urgent action to offer affordable connectivity to the 4 billion individuals without it is key. By creating a platform for synergy between industry and authority, we can drive a constructive movement for change worldwide.

On our opening day, we will focus on Wi-Fi 6 and the initiative to allow unlicensed applications such as Wi-Fi to utilize the 5925 – 7125 MHz band. Better Wi-Fi improves connectivity in the home, at work (or a combination of the two, as we are all now used to), in public facilities like hospitals or schools and in public spaces, driving productivity, economic growth and societal development. According to CISCO, Wi-Fi continues to carry more traffic than any other wireless system globally; about half of Internet traffic originates or terminates on Wi-Fi. But for Wi-Fi 6 to do its job, more spectrum is required to support wide channels from 80 to 160 MHz. Access to the entire 6 GHz band will be a step towards facilitating just this, making next generation Wi-Fi possible and meeting end-user demands.

We will also focus on rural connectivity and servicing those who remain unconnected or underserved. Short sessions covering The Importance of Connectivity will host a range of expert speakers; Claude Aiken of WISPA, Alessandra Lustrati, Head of Digital Development in the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Richard Thanki, Co-founder and Managing Director of Jangala, Don Means from the Libraries WhiteSpace Project, Heather Lanigan from USTDA and Jane Coffin from ISOC; who will discuss several practical use cases related to connectivity and dynamic spectrum access. Taking turns to present their case for improved spectrum sharing, our speakers will explore rural connectivity and broadband coverage plans in the USA, as well as international efforts for digital inclusion and specific projects to connect migrants, women and anchor institutions.

Among the pre-recorded sessions released on Day 1, our panel session on How to Connect the Unconnected: Enabling Future Proof Technology Solutions for Everyone and Everything, moderated by H. Nwana, the first DSA President, will evaluate the technological opportunity to reach rural users and meet capacity needs in more urban areas. Tune in on-demand to listen to Professor Umar Garba Danbatta of NCC Nigeria, Commissioner Adolfo Cuevas of IFT Mexico, Sidney Roberts, Director of Airband Engineering at Microsoft, Julie Zoller, Head of Regulatory Affairs for Project Kuiper at Amazon and Wesley Eddy of Loon address the issues faced by those without adequate Internet access, and how to overcome this – no matter how concentrated or far-reaching.

The second day of the Virtual Global Summit will see Alexander Kuhn of BNetzA Germany, Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator of the Office of Spectrum Management at NTIA USA, Andy Clegg, Spectrum Engineering Lead at Google, Jennifer McCarthy of Federated Wireless and Guillaume Lebrun of Facebook discuss Worldwide Initiatives to Deliver More Mid-Band Spectrum Through Sharing, with Michael Calabrese as moderator. There, they will discuss the importance of dynamic spectrum access for enabling more intensive and efficient spectrum use while protecting incumbent services. In this open and honest discussion, they will also speak on some challenges they are currently facing, and how they are looking to resolve these. Bringing together such a widespread panel of regulatory professionals to discuss such spectrum sharing innovation is something we hope will enrich the community to benefit the development of new policies.

Later that day, we will also showcase the uniqueness of mmWaves and their importance for connectivity. Speakers Alan Norman of Facebook, Jameson Dempsey of Loon and Mohammed A. Alabdulqader of CITC, Saudi Arabia will give their perspectives about technology trends and the most recent mmWave solutions, while also addressing the limitations and challenges of the band and its regulations in this candid discussion, moderated by Monica Paolini of SenzaFili.

To close our event, we will be contemplating the trending topics in the industry at the moment and how this may impact the future of our connected world, from spectrum policy to corporate social responsibility. Attendees of the DSA Global Summit 2020 will have the opportunity to network with delegates, regulators and authorities alike in an online space from home. With the chance to ask questions and present new perspectives in our open sessions and Q&A segments, we will ensure a collaborative platform from which to establish a unified plan for the future of technology and our industry.

Now, we are proud to invite you to join the global force of industry leaders this year for the opportunity to share your perspectives, ask your questions and gain exclusive industry insight into the development of connectivity. To attend from the comfort of your home, register here for free – we look forward to welcoming you!

CBRS: A Spectrum Sharing Success

In January, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized the commercial deployment of the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) – a major milestone for spectrum sharing in the USA. Furthermore, the FCC successfully completed Auction 105 for the CBRS Priority Access Licenses (PAL) in the 3550-3650 MHz band, which saw the largest number of spectrum licenses ever made available in a single FCC auction. In the months since, the CBRS ecosystem has rapidly expanded, with tens of thousands of indoor and outdoor deployments catering to a wide range of use cases. To us, this is proof of the opportunities enabled by spectrum sharing – market growth, increased stakeholder involvement in providing broadband connectivity, new opportunities for innovation, new use cases and an efficient use of the spectrum.

According to the FCC announcement, Auction 105 gross proceeds reached $4.6 billion, with net proceeds totalling $4.5 billion. A total of 228 bidders won 20,625 of 22,631 – or more than 91.1% – of available licenses. However, the opportunities made possible by CBRS commercialization go beyond the economy, facilitating the evolution of the ecosystem as the potential for new use cases expands and large-scale applications are realized.

For example, the American Dream Entertainment and Retail Complex in New Jersey has implemented CBRS to cover the entire 3 million square foot venue, servicing over 40 million annual visitors and more than 450 stores. Beyond the mall itself, CBRS has also been used for traffic and parking management, assessing approximately 33,000 parking spaces. Equipping security cameras, digital signage and other systems for both internal and external mall operations, CBRS has proved essential for supporting and enabling interesting new use cases such as this outside of public use Wi-Fi and cellular networks. It has been concluded that such IT infrastructures are faster and more economic than fixed infrastructures, offering reliable and simple, yet effective means of connectivity.


In Dallas, CBRS has transformed airport communication systems, moving airport staff and management connections onto the CBRS spectrum. Such deterministic spectrum access is critical in emergency scenarios to cater to higher power requirements and improve overall spectrum coverage. This network support is critical to airport communications and coexists with a robust Wi-Fi network, which is vital for providing passengers in transit with seamless connectivity when roaming.


On the west coast, the Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, has adopted CBRS capabilities to support its internal communications within the stadium, lightening the load on the Wi-Fi system, similar to that of Dallas’ airports. Since the full commercial deployment of CBRS, they have also been working as a neutral host provider, offering Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) support in managing signal traffic for customers attending events. By not only supporting internal connectivity for both staff and customers but extending this service for the reinforcement of existing MNOs, CBRS has presented the opportunity to eliminate barriers and limitations, providing full, flexible coverage whenever it is needed – even when roaming.


A whole host of private network opportunities, from smart energy to smart city, are beginning to emerge. From business to leisure the development of smart offices, airports and stadiums have been initiated as Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) are able to harness this newly available spectrum. Even WISPs which typically operate in rural areas, who have been using this part of the spectrum for the past 12-15 years, are transitioning spectrum to new CBRS rules and LTE equipment to expand their reach and strengthen their services.


As we reflect on the use cases across the USA, it is clear that CBRS has revolutionized the ways in which spectrum is utilized to better connectivity across a diverse number of sectors. Hundreds of WISPs have moved their system from the old regime onto new CBRS systems so far, taking advantage of hybrid networks to offer better service to their users and using the spectrum to upgrade their networks and reach. The commercialization of CBRS has also provided private network deployers with a ‘one stop shop’ for spectrum access, equipment and management services, making the process more efficient than ever.


Now, with the PAL auction accomplished, we expect to see the CBRS ecosystem grow exponentially over the coming years to continually support innovation and better connectivity across the US. With all these achievements so early in its deployment and not a single report of harmful incumbent interference, CBRS has truly proved a spectrum sharing success – and we are excited to work with spectrum authorities to continue driving this journey.

TVWS Workshop:

Latest developments of global frameworks and its social impact

To watch the full webinar on demand, visit our YouTube channel.

Following the Summer break, the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance is excited to continue our efforts in serving the underserved and bettering the lives of millions. Working with authorities and policy makers worldwide to drive the movement towards more accessible, affordable and efficient broadband access, we have already celebrating many major milestones this year – despite unprecedented global events. In preparation for out virtual Global Summit this November, we intend to maintain this momentum throughout these coming months and prepare for the further realization of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing potential as the new year looms.

In July, we were thrilled to host our virtual TVWS Workshop covering the global impact of TV White Space (TVWS) frameworks on society and the wider technological ecosystem – sponsored by Microsoft. Reflecting on the recent regulatory changes and deployments within the TVWS Ecosystem, our two panels of expert shared their valuable insight into the benefits of a diverse and vast ecosystem, the importance of serving the underserved, and the future potential of TVWS.

Opening the webinar, Vickie Robinson, Senior Director of the Airband Initiative at Microsoft USA outlined Microsoft’s mission, pledging its dedication to extending broadband access to the 40 million unconnected people worldwide – three million of whom reside in the United States – by July 2022. Emphasising its global scope, the Airband Initiative has roots which extend far beyond the USA and rely on a public-private effort for diminishing the digital divide, particularly in rural areas. The Airband Initiative works in close partnership with several organizations, including local wireless internet service providers (WISPs) as well as federal, state and local entities focused on closing the rural digital divide.


To follow, our regulatory panel saw established policy makers from around the world discuss the developments of TVWS guidelines in their respective nations, and the benefits of TVWS deployment that they have witnessed first-hand. Speakers included Mr.Moisés Queiroz Moreira, Commissioner at ANATEL, Brazil; Mr. Peter Ngige, Assistant Director at the Communications Authority of Kenya; Mr. Austin Nwaulune, Director, Spectrum Administration at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Mr. Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner at the FCC, USA. Together, they explored the impact of the current pandemic on TVWS frameworks, with Mr. Ngige describing temporary measures that have been put in place by authorities in Kenya as a solution to the surge in broadband demand with the rise of telework. Elsewhere, such as in Nigeria, the decision to deploy TVWS commercially is under consultation, and is part of an ambitious and recently released plan to increase broadband access in the country. Regardless of region, however, it was made clear that TVWS is a complimentary service, that provides or will provide last mile connectivity. Working hand in hand with other technologies and fixed wireless services, TVWS can be backboned by existing fibre, microwave links and satellites to, in turn, reinforce the network and lay stable foundations for emerging spectrum technologies.


Our second panel saw the audience participate in a Q&A segment following an exploration of TVWS network deployments from Sylvia Jaramillo, General Manager at Anditel, Bryan Kariuki, Chief Commercial Officer at Mawingu Networks, Jalel Sager, CEO of New Sun Road and Greg Jarman, Chief Development Officer at Watch Communications. Moderated by Lydia Payne Carroon, Business Operations Manager at Microsoft, concerns about the stability of rural connectivity were raised, with the discussion turning to common roadblocks in the journey to increasing connectivity and the creative solutions required to overcome them. Serving customers across ten countries and reaching nine million people, the Microsoft Airband Initiative has done just this, noticing trends in data which indicate particular demographics falling victim to digital isolation. Such trends prove that increasing Internet access to groups and regions must be done at a demographic level. Otherwise, the risk of imbalance among communities is significantly increased. It is not enough to provide the infrastructure, but intervention must occur to teach, train and encourage all members of the community to make use of it. Ultimately, skewed infrastructural distribution, cost of access and content available on the Internet have proved to be obstacles in the widespread use of spectrum sharing technologies. By eradicating this gap in the market, Internet access can be increased worldwide and the discrepancies observed in the analogue world will be prevented from being replicated in the digital world as we drive people from offline to online, closing the digital divide significantly.

TVWS Unlocking New Possibilities

By Martha Suárez, DSA President and
Hender Jimenez, Technical Program Manager – Microsoft Airband Initiative

Introduction by Martha Suarez

During these uncertain times amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, my family and I have moved to a beautiful country town in the northeast of Colombia where my father has a small farm. It is a nice place to stay during the quarantine and we feel extremely lucky to be here. However, despite the lovely landscape, the fresh air and the calm, broadband Internet access is a huge issue. Fiber optic networks and microwave links are not an option here because the users in this region are farmers and countryside households that require an affordable price and not a business-oriented solution. For now, mobile coverage using 2G and 3G technologies is the only alternative; which, at best, is enough to receive WhatsApp messages and check some emails, but it cannot sustain video calls or common telework platforms like GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc., making working from home a big challenge.

This has been an interesting experience, and I have learned a lot about local companies who are trying to provide a better Internet service in rural regions like this one. Having spoken to multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs), I have discovered many small, but very active companies working to provide Internet to local households. However, when I asked these ISPs about the TV White Space (TVWS) technology, they had not heard about it – despite TVWS regulations being in place in Colombia since 2017. Currently, most of these ISPs connect urban users via a fiber node that spans throughout the town. Beyond that, they use unlicensed frequencies in the 5 GHz band to reach the surrounding farms and rural houses. Unfortunately, this band is limited to locations with line of sight (LOS), which does not allow the service to be offered to all potential users in the area. When I described the capabilities of the TVWS technology, it opened their eyes! Such technology would finally allow them to reach people that are currently unserved because the links they currently use in the 5 GHz band simply don´t reach those places.

In this blog, we would like to cover the situation that we – among millions – are facing, as well as some of the most frequently asked questions among regulators regarding the TVWS ecosystem; how vast is it? How popular is the technology? What developments are being made? The answers are straightforward; the ecosystem keeps growing at a fast pace, the technology is vibrant and keeps evolving, and its deployment is gaining traction at a rapid rate. Nevertheless, we still need to reinforce the relationships with wireless internet service providers (WISPs) and let them know about new TVWS opportunities. We should also continue engaging with spectrum authorities in countries that still don’t have TVWS rules in place so that they, too, can discover the technology and benefit from it.

A Technology in Continuous Evolution and an Ecosystem that Keeps Growing

It is hard to believe that just a couple of years ago the maximum throughput of a TVWS link was about 30 Mbps; now, some TVWS radios can reach up to 186 Mbps. This evolution is due to the dedication and effort that TVWS equipment manufacturers have put into this technology, driven by an ecosystem of customers and suppliers that keeps growing. Currently, there are at least ten TVWS equipment manufacturers who are fully committed to the technology; it is these equipment suppliers, along with the increasing number of countries adopting regulations for TVWS, that are causing the ecosystem grow at an accelerated pace.

The evolution of TVWS has been made possible due to the implementation of technological enhancements that were initially envisioned for other technologies like Wi-Fi and LTE. We would like to highlight three of them:

  • First, the creation of bigger bandwidth channels through channel bonding, which allows multiple contiguous TVWS channels to work as a single channel. Most manufactures allow four 6 MHz channels to be bonded for a total of 24 MHz bandwidth. Some manufacturers are also working on channel aggregation capabilities, which allow non-contiguous channels to operate as a single, larger bandwidth channel.
  • Another important enhancement of these radios is the ability to work on higher modulation and coding schemes, with some of the newer radios reaching up to 256 QAM.
  • Finally, the implementation of MIMO capabilities using multiple transmission and reception streams has been another key factor to increase capacity. Some of the existing radios allow 2×2 MIMO and future versions are expected to include 4×4 MIMO capabilities.

In the future, we expect other technological enhancements like beamforming and massive MIMO to be implemented on TVWS, which will result in even more robust radios with higher throughputs.

Welcoming a diverse market

Different providers harness different technologies to offer the best deployment opportunities to their customers. The collective effort in addressing demands for high-performance, low-cost TVWS technologies – especially in areas with non-line of sight (NLOS) – emphasizes the need for such solutions and reinforces their importance on an industrial scale. This is crucial to developing a strong TVWS ecosystem and tackling present industry challenges. Currently, the availability of different TVWS equipment is relatively low as manufacturers struggle to localize their offices to the regions which they service, even in countries that already have TVWS regulations in place. Thus, the awareness and desire generated by the existence and growth within the TVWS trade will enable regional end-users to benefit as WISPs compete to deploy the best and the most cost-effective solutions to their customers in the shortest period of time.

The DSA is thrilled to see the movement towards far-reaching deployment realized as more companies become recognized and dynamic spectrum access technology is driven into the mainstream. We congratulate members and non-members alike for contributing to this breakthrough journey and look forward to seeing spectrum made more accessible as regulations progress as a result of their help in facilitating its implementation and adoption.

Sharing Beyond Licensed and Unlicensed Spectrum

A recap of Senza Fili’s Sparring Partners Webinar

Last week, we were pleased to participate in Senza Fili’s latest webinar, covering the importance of connectivity in our lives and how spectrum can be used to facilitate better connections between people and communities. Hosted by Monica Paolini, Editor of Senza Fili, and moderated by Kendra Chamberlain on the first all-female panel, we discussed the benefits of spectrum sharing and how far the technology has come since the DSA first formed. We also explored different options and frameworks for dynamic spectrum management, including TVWS, CBRS, 6 GHz and database assisted dynamic spectrum networks. The full webinar is now available to watch and listen to on-demand here.

Our History

Traditionally, there have been only two approaches to spectrum management; licensed usage, which requires every user to have a license for a particular frequency band or geographic area, and unlicensed usage, where an entire frequency band is reserved exclusively for unlicensed operations. For example, the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands where Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other unlicensed devices operate stand as an existing example of unlicensed usage. Today, there are several approaches to spectrum management that include sharing between different types of services, blurring the line between the two traditional methods.

While it is still desirable to have bands dedicated to unlicensed access and some applications and use cases require exclusive or priority access to spectrum, it is difficult to find sufficient spectrum to support this. This is due to the vast number of users currently operating across all frequencies and the complex and onerous process of clearing or relocating users. Spectrum sharing technology can be used to combat this challenge, enabling spectrum to be shared efficiently among users while simultaneously protecting incumbents.

New spectrum access options must be considered for Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) that are offering rural broadband connectivity. Such WISPs are dependent on having sufficient access to spectrum, as well as to well-developed equipment ecosystems.

New LTE and 5G networks can also benefit from the use of spectrum sharing technology, which helps to increase access to spectrum for existing Mobile Network Operators and support new business cases that have previously had limited spectrum access options. By building the right regulatory framework for spectrum sharing and creating good operating conditions for incumbents without interference, more users are able to benefit from spectrum access. Applicable to both residential and enterprise use cases, this allows different providers and companies to contribute to the network, connecting more people in different environments and facilitating the expansion of a richer spectrum ecosystem. Our society is now so dependent on wireless technology that we must act to adapt it to our ever-evolving lifestyles, and the DSA advocates for a range of different options in doing so.

Gauging Dynamic Use

Today, dynamic spectrum sharing offers far more efficient options for providing opportunities to access frequency bands. In the CBRS framework, the ‘dynamic’ aspect refers to the nature of the incumbent use, which changes depending on time and location, requiring new users to adapt to fluctuating conditions and to access the spectrum under an opportunistic scheme. Dynamic users are harder to protect than static users, requiring different techniques to effectively protect them while still allowing new users in the same band. One such technique involves the detection of incumbents through the use of sensors. Once incumbent use is detected, spectrum sharing systems can instruct new users to relocate to a different part of the band on a temporary basis to avoid interference with incumbents.

New entrants can also benefit from dynamic sharing of spectrum. At times and in locations where incumbents are not using spectrum, spectrum sharing systems can assign it to others. This is especially applicable in stadiums or sporting venues where flexible spectrum access options are needed to cater to the large volume of users in one space for a limited period of time. Thus, the dynamic aspect of spectrum sharing not only protects incumbents, but also allows new entrants access when and where they need it, making far more efficient use of spectrum and eliminating waste.

Considering all the Options

Unlicensed technologies, such as Wi-Fi and TV White Space, are mature and continue to support vast numbers of users on an affordable basis. However, there are other types of spectrum sharing that enable new opportunities. Regional context is important for judging which is most appropriate for a particular country or frequency band. For example, frequency bands which are heavily occupied in the United States, such as the television broadcast bands, might only host a few national broadcasters in other countries. While many bands are being used extensively in big cities, that same spectrum might be readily available in rural or isolated regions. So long as the incumbent users are protected, spectrum sharing technologies can open large amounts of spectrum to new users.

Regulatory frameworks that involve spectrum sharing must be flexible and adaptable for future changes of both incumbent and new users. We must consider the importance of making sufficient spectrum available for both unlicensed access and 5G services – spectrum sharing technology can be leveraged to achieve both of these goals. As the influx of data and cutting-edge devices is projected to boost traffic being carried by Wi-Fi from 50% to 70%, we risk facing a shortage or bottleneck of spectrum. At the same time, in order to achieve the low latency, high power capabilities that are being imagined for the 5G era, access to spectrum in the entire 6 GHz band will be urgently needed. Shared spectrum solutions are available today that can help meet these challenges.