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Championing Spectrum Sharing This September

The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance has a far-reaching global presence, with members situated around the world. Therefore, as President, part of my role is to attend key spectrum events worldwide to support fundamental dynamic spectrum sharing solutions which will connect those in rural areas to the internet, along with supporting next-generation technologies.

At the start of September, I attended ANDICOM 2019 in Cartagena, Colombia for three days, which hosted 2,800 visitors from 25 countries. At the event, we enjoyed a high-level academic agenda that allowed participants to share knowledge on technological issues that define the spectrum sharing industry. It was a great opportunity to meet with companies and experts that are interested in dynamic spectrum access.

During the month, I was also pleased to attend the Microsoft Airband Summit in Redmond, Washington. I sat on a panel that focused on “Working with Governments and Regulators to Bridge the Digital Divide” and had a great discussion with Claude Aiken from WISPA, Dudu Mkhwanazi from Project Isizwe, along with Paula Boyd and Jeffrey Yan from Microsoft. On a broader note, it was great to see an overview of the Microsoft Airband Initiative which continually makes progress in eliminating the broadband gap in numerous countries, including India, Kenya, Ghana and the United States.

Later in the month I attended the 9th Annual International Congress to speak on Spectrum for Sustainable Development in Colombia, organized by the Colombian National Spectrum Agency (ANE). I joined Veena Rawat from GSMA, Carlos Rebellón from Intel, Celedonio von Wuthenau from Nokia and Juan Ignacio Crosta from BlueNote to discuss the dynamic use and sharing of spectrum in the growing 5G world. The congress was a success and a good opportunity to learn, strengthen relationships with regulators and industry experts as well as discuss with them the importance of spectrum sharing.

I then travelled to Lima, Peru to attend the 6th Annual Latin Americas Spectrum Management Conference. This event highlighted the importance of connecting people in the most remote and underserved areas and how the entire population can take advantage of new technologies to close the digital divide. At the event we were also presented with the opportunity to meet with regulators to advance the development of dynamic spectrum sharing technology in the Latin American region.

Whilst in Lima I attended a ChicasTIC meeting, which strives to empower Latin American women who work in technology. ChicasTIC is a network of women in LatAm promoting female leadership in the ICT sector and I was glad to see that many women who attended the conference joined our group.

After the conference I continued in Lima, participating in a workshop on Community Networks. On the panel I was joined by Fernando Carrillo from Echostar, Nadia Villegas from the MTC and Peter Bloom from Rhizomatica in an informative discussion moderated by ITU’s Director of Radiocommunication Bureau, Mario Maniewicz. The session focused on alternative methods for the use of radio spectrum in underserved areas.

The 24th September marked the opening of the 8th Annual Americas Spectrum Management Conference in Washington D.C. The two-day conference began with a welcome from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, where he reiterated the FCC’s intent to make the 6 GHz spectrum band available to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses.

In September I was also invited to deliver a training course session for the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI), an innovative program exploring emerging technologies and spectrum management. Whilst in Washington, I was invited to a reception ceremony to honour the 10,000th USTTI Graduate! The graduate was Irene Ogake from Kenya and it was a pleasure to congratulate her. I am convinced that the USTTI is doing a great job.

For my final meeting of September, I travelled to Mexico City where the DSA co-organized a workshop to discuss Mexico’s adoption of TV White Space (TVWS) technology. In addition to the workshop, the DSA attended important meetings with various Mexican authorities including the Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT), the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT) and the delegates from the Presidency of the Republic leading the discussion on connectivity issues.

My involvement in these important spectrum sharing events across North and South America has been a great opportunity to connect with Spectrum Authorities, DSA members and other key industry experts to work towards closing the digital divide for the remaining 4 billion people. I would like to thank all of the DSA members that joined us in our meetings this September, and to the great team of experts that support the DSA’s ambition of global connectivity.

DSA joins CITEL and attends ATU meeting

By Martha Suarez, President of the DSA

DSA President Martha Suarez and Ms Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams (Minister of Communications in South Africa and Member of African National Congress (ANC)) at the final ATU Preparatory Meeting for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019.

As the DSA looks to further promote the integral role that spectrum sharing technology plays in connecting those in underserved or unconnected areas to the internet, I am thrilled to announce that the DSA is strengthening its presence in the regional spectrum groups and has joined the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) and attended the final African Preparatory Meeting (APM) for World Radiocommunication Conference WRC-19 of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU).

CITEL is an entity of the Organization of American States and serves as the Organization’s leading advisory body in all telecommunications matters in the Hemisphere. CITEL’s primary focus is to facilitate and promote the integral and sustainable development of innovative and reliable telecommunications in the Americas. The DSA’s key messages align with those of CITEL’s and we are looking forward to working closely together as the industry looks to utilise spectrum sharing to enable next-generation technologies.

DSA has joined the Permanent Consultative Committee II (PCCII) that promotes debate and regional cooperation on issues related to the planning, coordination, harmonization, and efficient use of the radio spectrum.

Last month, I attended the 34 Meeting of PCCII from 12th-16th August in Ottawa, Canada. CITEL meetings host delegates from all administrations of the OAS and the delegates are spectrum experts so I had the opportunity to meet with many delegations and share with them the importance of spectrum sharing.

Moreover, last week, I also attended the final APM for WRC-19 in East London, South Africa. It was great to meet many regulators from Africa for the first-time to discuss their vision for the future of spectrum.

In CITEL and ATU, I had the opportunity to present to the delegates the DSA vision for different technologies. One of them is the next generation of Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi 6 – that can make use of wide channels to provide wireless gigabit broadband inside homes and buildings. Wi-Fi 6 also promises to provide immersive experiences delivered through peripherals and will allow gigabit class networks to be deployed in rural and suburban environments. Regulators could avoid a Wi-Fi spectrum crunch by facilitating license-exempt access to the 6 GHz band (5925 –7125 MHz), helping to realize the full potential of Wi-Fi 6.

Wi-Fi is used so broadly today and in many places such as Latin America and Africa it is the only option for many people to access Internet. DSA advocates to maintain the technology neutrality of the 6 GHz band because the existing co-primary mobile allocation allows users to employ technologies that best meet their requirements, whether they are IEEE-based, 3GPP-based, or something entirely new.

The DSA exists to expand dynamic and opportunistic access to unused radio spectrum and it is our constant communication with regulators and government stakeholders that allow us to take positive steps towards this. With the support of CITEL and ATU and through attending regional meetings and working closely with the spectrum experts, we are looking forward to ensuring more and more people access the benefits that come from connectivity through spectrum harmonization.

WRC Conference in Egypt

Later this year, the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt. Held every three to four years, it is the job of the WRC to review or revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary satellite orbits. This year, there are a wide range of topics that comprise the agenda and the DSA is looking forward to promoting the importance of maintaining technological neutrality in the 6 GHz band for the future.

To stay up to date with the DSA’s activities worldwide, make sure you are following us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Post 2019 Global Summit Blog

Summit Draws Worldwide Spectrum Experts

Two weeks ago, the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance convened its seventh annual Global Summit in Washington, DC with tech and telecom industry leaders and regulators from around the world. I was honored to preside over my first Summit as President of DSA and I am humbled and excited by the progress our members and policymakers are making worldwide to connect the next four billion people and build a next-generation network ecosystem.

Through panels and fireside chats, presenters covered cutting-edge airwaves issues from UHF bands to mmWaves and discussed about technologies like TV White Spaces, IoT, 5G and Wi-Fi 6. We hosted a TVWS workshop and a regulators-only workshop that drew policymakers committed to sharing their experiences and learning from the other participants about spectrum sharing and dynamic access to spectrum to make the most efficient use of their country’s airwaves. The final day of the event brought together speakers from the private sector, non-profit organizations and public sector to continue these conversations.

We couldn’t say it better than our panelists and speakers themselves, so please enjoy some of their remarks below and we look forward to seeing you next year!

 

On Unlicensed Spectrum

  • “We need more unlicensed spectrum and I’m working hard to make that happen.” – FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly
  • “72% of the traffic on your phone is going to be managed by unlicensed communications. So we really have to pay attention to unlicensed.” – Mary Brown, Director, Government Affairs, Cisco Systems
  • “Unlicensed spectrum is really the “water” for connectivity in a lot of upcoming markets.” – Dan Rabinovitsj, Vice President, Facebook

 

On 6 GHz

  • “We can push the envelope. I think there’s much more opportunity for unlicensed use in 6 GHz…and the concerns raised can be mitigated. My goal is to get to a conclusion as soon as possible.” – FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly
  • “Wi-Fi 6 is a ‘Ferrari’ running in this old spectrum. What we really want to do is get it out on the freeway of 6 GHz.” – Mary Brown, Director, Government Affairs, Cisco Systems
  • “Good technical conversations between proponents and incumbents are the right approach.” – Michael Ha, Chief, Policy and Rules Division, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC
  • “This isn’t something that’s going to take a generation to build up; this is something we can put into productive use right away. We’re hopeful that you could have Wi-Fi 6 in 6 GHz in Europe before Christmas 2020… [And] we’re very, very hopeful that the FCC could also reach a point where we could see Wi-Fi 6 in 6 GHz deployed in 2020.” – Chris Szymanski, Director, Product Marketing & Government Affairs, Broadcom
  • “What you’re going to see is a whole ecosystem of devices that are built around high throughput, low latency, and we think that that’s going to happen with 6 GHz… You’re going to have an even higher level of reliability that people will depend on to provide various real-time services” – Chris Szymanski, Director, Product Marketing & Government Affairs, Broadcom

 

On CBRS

  • “CBRS success is the result of unprecedented collaboration between all of these government entities, industries and standards bodies.” – Dave Wright, Director, Regulatory Affairs & Network Standards, Ruckus Networks

 

On C-Band

  • “To say that this is the most complex spectrum topic we’ve ever seen is an understatement.” – Jaime Fink, VP of Technology, Fixed Wireless at Airspan Networks CTO & Co-Founder, Mimosa Networks
  • On splitting the band (rather than clearing it): “It’s a win-win-win.” – Jaime Fink, VP of Technology, Fixed Wireless at Airspan Networks CTO & Co-Founder, Mimosa Networks
  • “This 500 MHz is grossly underutilized. There are 1,500 earth stations; this may sound like a lot, but this means that more than 90% of the spectrum capacity in the band is fallow.” – Michael Calabrese, Director, Wireless Future Project, New America
  • “These are four foreign-owned satellite companies that want to make money on spectrum that they never paid for. There should be a public auction.” – Michael Calabrese, Director, Wireless Future Project, New America

 

On the Digital Divide

  • “It’s our job to make spectrum abundant for broadband. We need to connect the next four billion people, stimulate wireless innovation for next-generation broadband, and accelerate an inclusive digital economy.” – That was me!
  • “Connectivity allows women to have access to financial services, healthcare, education, jobs. It’s such a powerful tool and we have to focus on how to improve it. Every woman should have that opportunity.” – Heather Lanigan, Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, USTDA
  • “Access that is not affordable, inclusive and safe is not access at all.” – Clara Barnett, Governance & Digital Inclusion Adviser, Emerging Policy, Innovation & Capability (EPIC), UK Department for International Development (DFID)

Initial Customer Deployments are Fast Approaching:

What are the Best Use Cases and Market Opportunities for CBRS?

When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules for shared use of 150 MHz of 3.5GHz band spectrum in April 2015, it set in motion a four-year race to initial commercial deployments (ICD) of CBRS technology.

Pending availability of the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) report and the review and approval from the FCC and DoD, the ICD start date is expected in July or August 2019 for the General Authorized Access (GAA) portion of the band. The licensed portion, known as PALs, won’t be deployed until spectrum is auctioned and allocated in 2020.

In a few short weeks, the CBRS ‘innovation band’ will become commercially available and provide the much-anticipated capacity for wireless innovation. During the DSA Global Summit, wireless industry and regulatory experts will come together to discuss what the best use cases and market opportunities for CBRS are.

The Innovation Challenge

Turning opportunity into customer value will be the next challenge the industry will need to overcome. With CBRS, the wireless industry will be provided a toolbox of potential capabilities and a set of guidelines for deploying these valuable spectrum resources. While resource availability is certainly important, how shared spectrum is deployed to address real-life customer problems will determine the winners from the losers in this emerging and quickly evolving industry.

The DSA Global Summit panel discussion “3.5 – 3.7GHz Citizen Band Radio Service (CBRS) Rollouts – Use Cases and Marketplace Opportunities” on June 27th will bring together wireless and regulatory experts to discuss their views on the short and long-term market opportunities and regulatory challenges for CBRS.

Jennifer McCarthy, Vice President, Legal Advocacy at Federated Wireless will moderate the panel comprised of:

  • Derek Peterson, CTO, Boingo Wireless
  • Craig Sparks, CINO, C-Spire
  • Dave Wright, President, CBRS Alliance and Director, Regulatory Affairs & Network Standards, Ruckus Networks
  • Paul Powell, Assistant Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Federal Communication Commission (FCC)

Topics of Discussion

The panel will seek to address the viability of deploying private LTE cellular networks on CBRS at large public venues, such as airports and stadiums, to leverage favorable mid-band spectrum for seamless and secure connectivity in dense, high-trafficked areas. It will also analyze the potential for Enterprise applications for CBRS including corporate campuses, property management, hospitality, education and healthcare.

Other key topics include:

  • The feasibility to support Industrial Internet of Things (IOT) use cases for ports, railroads and utility monitoring.
  • Fixed Wireless use cases, especially in areas with underutilized spectrum and carrier-grade in-building installations that require voice continuity between indoor and outdoor, and Wi-Fi and CBRS networks.
  • The CBRS ecosystem and what it will look like in the next 12 to 18 months as commercial deployments accelerate.
  • The current and future regulatory climate for CBRS and how this may change as additional shared spectrum options become available in the future.

While CBRS provides an exciting opportunity to drive innovation and growth in the Wireless industry, use cases and deployment strategies that address the needs of the customer will be paramount in determining success in the market.

Join us at the “3.5 – 3.7GHz Citizen Band Radio Service (CBRS) Rollouts – Use Cases and Marketplace Opportunities” DSA Global Summit panel on June 27th at 1:30pm ET to hear thought leaders provide their recipe and predictions for CBRS success.

Encouraging worldwide collaboration at DSA Summit

Our annual Global Summit is fast approaching, and we are looking forward to welcoming industry representatives from around the world to participate in discussions surrounding spectrum sharing.

As of last week, the authorities and regulators that will attend the Global Summit in Washington D.C. will join us from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador Germany, Ghana, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Peru, South Korea, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the US!

Also joining us will be Mario Maniewicz from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Allan Ruiz from COMTELCA.

It is a core value of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance that worldwide collaboration and discussion is vital for the progression of the industry, especially when the goal is to bring broadband connectivity to those in the world’s most hard to reach locations.

By regularly coming together to explore use cases, successes and approaches, our objectives become much more attainable.

Global Summit Awards

As we have done in previous years, we will be presenting awards to individuals, spectrum regulators, companies, projects or universities who have demonstrated a commitment to spectrum sharing, connecting the unconnected and academic research in this area. The award categories are as follows:

  • Award for Innovation in Dynamic Spectrum Access Policies
  • Award for Increasing Digital Inclusion
  • Award for Internet of Things Innovation
  • Award for University Research on New Opportunities for Dynamic Spectrum Access
  • Award for University Initiative on New Opportunities for Dynamic Spectrum Access

There have been a lot of nominations this year and there are a number of strong candidates. We look forward to presenting the winners at the Global Summit at the end of this month and celebrating the ongoing hard work that is being undertaken with the ultimate goal of worldwide connectivity for everyone through the promotion of dynamic spectrum access.

We are ready to host a very exciting Global Summit in Washington D.C. With only a week to go, we invite you to not miss this exciting event that will look to the future of dynamic spectrum sharing.

DSA 2019 Global Summit

The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) will hold its Seventh Annual Global Summit in Washington D.C. on 27 June 2019, and this will be my first time attending a DSA Global Summit as its President. Continuing the work of the DSA around the rest of the year, the Global Summit will bring together people from across the industry to discuss and debate spectrum sharing methods and models, with a focus on the future and how dynamic spectrum sharing can be utilised effectively.

With representatives from across the industry, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), regulators, policy makers and academia, we have put together the DSA Global Summit agenda to explore new developments in the spectrum industry. It is an exciting time for spectrum sharing, with recent progress including the bidding for spectrum earmarked for 5G, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed rulemaking on the 6 GHz band, the Mid-band sharing opportunities with CBRS and beyond, the deployment of TV White Space (TVWS) technology and hybrid fix wireless networks for rural connectivity and the unlicensed possibilities at the milli-metre waves. Using these developments and use cases, speakers at the DSA Global Summit will explore future advances utilising dynamic spectrum methods and mechanisms, like databases.

The 2019 DSA Global Summit is in its seventh year, following many successful previous events. The 2018 DSA Global Summit brought together representatives from 22 different regulatory bodies around the world and had a particular focus on challenges that was facing shared spectrum at the time. The outcome of the 2018 event has shaped the way the DSA has approached shared spectrum developments throughout the past year and has allowed us to target specific areas for further work that will be explored in this year’s agenda.

Opening the Global Summit, speakers will join the first panel ‘6 GHz –Shared Spectrum to Enable Next Gen Wi-Fi and Other Technologies Leveraging Non-Exclusive Unlicensed Spectrum Access’. Following recent FCC rulings, the DSA has continued to show its support for the unlicensed use of the 6GHz band. As surmised in the DSA reply comments to these rulings, the 6 GHz band presents a golden opportunity to increase the use of the band, address increasing demand form unlicensed spectrum and protect incumbents.

Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) is an alternative technology supported by the DSA that is seeing a rise in popularity and discussion around the world. CBRS provides the opportunity to share the 3.5 GHz band, and it has recently been announced that a 5G-specific sharing standard is under development with 5G services planned to commence on the band in 2020. The panel ‘3.5-3.7 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) Roll-outs: Use Cases and Marketplace Opportunities’ will further delve into these discussions.

Beyond CBRS, there are many ways in which a three tier spectrum licensing framework can be utilised to protect incumbent services, provide the regulatory assurance necessary to attract investment in new technologies and applications and support innovation. Six industry experts will explore this spectrum sharing method on the panel ‘3.7 – 4.2 GHz – Application of Three Tier Spectrum Sharing Beyond CBRS’.

Many countries have taken the next step in the evolution of spectrum policy, through the license-exempt use of TVWS. On a panel dedicated to TVWS, speakers will explore the wide range of applications of TVWS that are particularly useful for providing internet access in rural locations, as these radio waves can travel further and are able to penetrate walls and other obstructions more easily.

The final panel of the DSA Global Summit will explore ‘The Use of Hybrid Fixed Wireless Networks to Close the Digital Divide in Unserved Communities’. The DSA continues to work hard to close the digital divide, primarily through engaging with regulators and government officials to promote and adopt suitable frameworks that will facilitate dynamic access to radio spectrum.

I am honoured to lead the DSA in their ongoing work towards dynamic spectrum access around the world. The DSA Global Summit is truly a platform for the industry to come together and collaborate to encourage progress and development, and the DSA is proud to be a host of this opportunity.

The DSA Global Summit full agenda and further details can be found here.

Spectrum sharing is a reality and an opportunity!

Following my appointment as DSA President at the beginning of May, this month has been about networking, meeting DSA members and getting to know the people who I will work with to achieve the DSA’s long-term goals of worldwide affordable connectivity.

Earlier this month, I attended Wi-Fi NOW USA and the FCBA Annual Seminar to discuss and debate dynamic spectrum management and the ways in which this can connect the unconnected around the world.

On the final day of Wi-Fi NOW USA, I joined Paul Garnett (Senior Director, Airband Initiative, Microsoft and Chairman of the DSA Board), Dudu Mkhwanazi (CEO, Project Isizwe) and Chris Marra (Product Manager, Facebook) for the Q&A panel ‘Building affordable connectivity with Wi-Fi & unlicensed radio – the road ahead’.

The Q&A panel prompted interesting discussions about what the industry can be doing to provide affordable connectivity around the world, especially for the 3.5 billion people who are still not connected to the internet. It was agreed that it is not only about connecting people, it is about all the opportunities that technology brings such as access to education, healthcare or improved agriculture.

The DSA is completely engaged to face this challenge and has already done so in the past, from hosting workshops in Ghana and Nigeria to promote TV White Space (TVWS), to providing a platform for the industry to come together, as we plan to do at the 2019 DSA Global Summit. All efforts to connect people are welcomed by the DSA, and dynamic access is an additional option to provide affordable access.

As an increasing amount of visionary companies – already shown by the DSA members Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon and many more – begin to employ unlicensed bands and Wi-Fi to deliver affordable connectivity around the world, it is important to maintain the discussion about how to continue this trend. The Wi-Fi NOW USA event highlighted to me that this industry is continuing to evolve and is always rising to and meeting new standards.

I also participated in the FCBA Annual Seminar, held in Hot Springs, Virginia. Speaking on the panel ‘Meet Me in the Mid-band: A Spectrum of Perspectives’, I joined David Don (Comcast), Claude Aiken (WISPA), Michele Farquhar (Hogan Lovells) in a great discussion moderated by Megan Stull (Google) and Erin Griffith (Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP).

The panel focused on different CBRS perspectives, the potential of the 3450 MHz – 3550 MHz band, the latest information about C-Band, new opportunities for Spectrum sharing at 5.9 GHz and Wi-Fi 6 at the 6 GHz band.

Both the Wi-Fi NOW USA event and FCBA Seminar were great opportunities to network with industry leaders and to meet some DSA members for the first time. Continued dynamic spectrum management is crucial for realizing worldwide affordable connectivity and the way to achieve this is by encouraging the industry as a whole to see spectrum sharing as an opportunity rather than a competition.

Registration for the DSA Global Summit is open now and the full agenda is available on the website: http://dynamicspectrumalliance.org/global-summit/.

Unveiling New Spectrum Sharing Findings

To mark the launch of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance’s (DSA’s) new policy research report, Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC): An Established Tool for Modern Spectrum Management, we held a workshop on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C to launch the report and to discuss its key findings.

Co-sponsored by the Congressional Spectrum Caucus, the event brought together United States Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel and industry leaders from around the world.

The launch of the report marks an important step forward, not only for the DSA but for everyone with a vested interest in maximising the potential of spectrum. The report found that AFC systems are the key to unlocking unused spectrum capacity by automatically searching databases for which radio frequencies are available for wireless devices to use at a given location and time.

With regulators under increasing pressure to adapt spectrum policy meet wireless connectivity demands, the use of AFC has never been more important. There has never been a better time for regulators to leverage AFC as a tool for fuelling gigabit-fast broadband networks and closing the digital divide that exists in far too many communities around the world.

The event was opened by Representative Doris Matsui, a founding member of the Congressional Spectrum Caucus. Bringing experience and insight, Representative Matsui emphasized the need for automated frequency modulation and efficient uses of the spectrum as well as touching on the challenges of deploying networks.

Other presentations included a ‘Fireside Chat’ with FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mike O’Rielly, moderated by Kalpak Gude. The Commissioners discussed how dynamic spectrum access technologies and policies help regulators achieve key policy challenges.

We were thrilled to have Michael Calabrese, Director of the Wireless Future Project at New America Foundation, present the findings of recent DSA research. Mr Calabrese presented the findings on shared spectrum as well as giving a demonstration on how Automated Spectrum Access, a hot topic at the workshop, is already in use within the CBRS band (3.5 GHz).

The workshop was an overwhelming success and it was great to welcome so many key industry bodies and leaders to Capitol Hill to discuss spectrum sharing and the use of databases to coordinate spectrum.

The AFC report reviews a number of emerging technological advances that can further improve the benefits provided by AFC, including the addition of more detailed GIS data and use of real-time spectrum sensing data. The DSA members are looking forward to doing our part in facilitating the global integration of AFC to maximise spectrum management for the digital era.

Spectrum sharing in Colombia

MarthaSpectrum sharing has had a huge positive impact on society and the economy in Colombia. It has created a virtuous ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in which the possibility to access spectrum for free and without a license, or be able to use the spectrum under certain regulatory framework at very low prices, has made viable new business models and created new ways to exchange products and services.

The most visible example of these virtuous ecosystems have been the bands that have been allocated for the use of Wi-Fi networks. The national spectrum agency has been studying different mechanisms of dynamic and sharing of spectrum to promote innovation, support the growth of the digital economy and reduce the digital divide following what it is promoted by “Plan Vive Digital para la gente” (Colombia’s broadband national plan).

During the past year, the government of Colombia has been performing technical testing and trials of fixed broadband equipment, operating in the white spaces of the UHF band which is currently allocated for TV broadcasting; Colombia adopted the DVB-T2 standard in a 6MHz channel. The aim of these tests were to enlarge the offer of broadband solutions in remote locations of the country, where today, there is no internet connection for either fixed or mobile.

The pilot trials have found that broadband solutions operating in white spaces of the UHF band allocated for TV broadcasting could work properly without causing harmful interference to TV broadcasting receptors in remote country areas, by following certain operating conditions.

Other pilot tests have been focused on bringing connectivity to schools located in remote rural areas who have never had internet connection due the difficulties of the terrain. It’s really exciting to see how with the implementation of alternative solutions like this, it is possible to connect remote rural schools with the world, enhancing learning and enlarging the dreams of their students.

Africa’s Telecoms Infrastructure: 2015 at a Glance

The rconnect-africa_Steve Song_02162016eal impact of technological innovation is often not felt until long after market introduction – particularly in emerging markets. Take the launch of the first mobile networks in sub-Saharan Africa in 1994 for example: the impact of affordable access granted by mobile technology was not felt until more than ten years later. We are at a similar juncture today with fibre optic technology. The first high-capacity, Open Access, undersea cable to reach countries in sub-Saharan Africa was launched in July 2009 with little fanfare. Today, more than a dozen undersea cables encircle the continent offering many terabits of digital capacity. The arrival of both capacity and competition on the shores of African countries has triggered a wave of investment in terrestrial fibre optic infrastructure to the point that virtually every African nation has at least one – and many have several – fibre-optic backbone connected to those undersea cables.

While much of the investment in fibre optic infrastructure has been spurred by the need to provide better, faster and cheaper backhaul for mobile networks, it also created an enabling environment for complementary last-mile solutions – a positive side effect for all.  Previously, the cost of building a communication access network involved solving an array of expensive problems, from international backhaul, to national network access, middle and last mile challenges, as well as the diffusion and maintenance of access devices.  Now, with the advent of local availability of Open Access fibre networks in primary and secondary cities in sub-Saharan Africa, new opportunities have opened up for access providers.

This year has seen an explosion of non-mobile last-mile initiatives launched across the continent, from metropolitan WiFi networks, to TV White Space initiatives and Fibre To The Home (FTTH).  Over the past year, eleven African countries announced major WiFi access initiatives, some in urban areas and townships like Project Isizwe in South Africa and Argon Telecom in Kenya, and some nationwide initiatives, such as in Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Newer access technologies like TV White Spaces also saw growth in 2015 with new pilots in Mozambique, Botswana, Mauritius, and Morocco. But perhaps the most interesting news was from Mawingu, a Kenyan TV White Space startup that began as a pilot in 2013, but last year, announced that it was negotiating a loan of four million dollars from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to expand its network.

Finally, Fibre To The Home (FTTH) also took off in 2015, with six African countries announcing FTTH initiatives.  South Africa stands out with multiple FTTH initiatives ranging from community-led projects such as Parkhurst in Johannesburg to business roll-outs from all the major operators.

All of this is great news for the evolution of affordable access as fibre networks open up the market for both technological and business-model innovation in the last mile.  A more comprehensive review of African telecommunications infrastructure developments in 2015 can be found at https://manypossibilities.net/2016/01/africa-telecoms-infrastructure-in-2015/