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Broadcasters Accuse Telecom Companies of Hoarding Spectrum

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the most-efficient-use-of-resources dept.

Businesses 102

angry tapir writes "The National Association of Broadcasters, asked by the US Federal Communications Commission and some lawmakers to give up television spectrum for mobile data uses, has fired back by accusing several other companies of hoarding the spectrum they hold. In recent weeks, the NAB has gone on the offensive by suggesting that several spectrum holders, including Verizon Communications, AT&T and Time Warner Cable, have not developed the spectrum they already have."

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102 comments

Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (5, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 3 years ago | (#35557832)

There seem to be a lot of parallels to IPv4... our general supply of unallocated spectrum/addresses is running out while everybody is accusing everybody else of hording unused spectrum/addresses and to turn them over for others to use.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557864)

No.

IP addresses can be increased by just adding numbers to the end. It's only a problem because some vendors aren't willing to adopt a new standard because they're too cheap to invest the money.

Electromagnetic spectrum is limited by nature. It's a physical constraint.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (4, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | about 3 years ago | (#35557916)

There is infinite supply of spectrum if you are willing to invest in equipment to use it that way. All frequencies can be split many many times. Data companies are actually more capable of this than broadcasters as the receivers are updated more frequently and consumers more willing to buy in if there is a reasonable improvement.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (5, Informative)

morgauxo (974071) | about 3 years ago | (#35558256)

Yes, spectrum could be used much more efficiently. It is not however unlimited. Frequencies can't be split into smaller slices indefinitely. Lookup "nyquist rate".

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (3, Interesting)

rufty_tufty (888596) | about 3 years ago | (#35560084)

The Nyquist rate applies to the symbol frequency. This is related to, but not actually the bit rate.

(Struggling to remember decade old university lectures)

A symbol can carry many bits of data e.g. 16 QAM can carry 4 bits per symbol. The amount of data you can carry on your symbol being limited by your channel and your TX-RX hardware. Our lecturer in this subject was very keen to drive home the fact that "The only thing that stops you sending one Gigabit in one kilohertz is your budget to pay for your phase discriminators."
So the GP is right in that data spectrum is infinite if you have the right hardware, you are right that at the moment we can only parcel the spectrum up so finely.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 3 years ago | (#35561958)

There's a second and very important limitation: Signal to Noise Ratio. Noise has a physical minimum, so to increase SNR more power is needed. Getting another 2 bits per symbol per Hz of bandwidth requires quadrupling power, and if your transmitter is already in the 50 kW to 100 kW region this means spending about $50 each hour for those 2 bits. There are also health concerns for people near the transmitter.

Sending 1 gigabit (per second) in 1 kHz requires a SNR of about 134 dB (this is a very rough mental estimate), and assumes that intersymbol interference won't be a problem (not a good assumption), and that analog distortion can be below -134 dB in the transmitter and receiver (a very poor assumption), and that A/D and D/A conversions are that good, and that a host of other problems don't happen.

Spectrum is not infinite for broadcast systems because air, particularly wet air, blocks many frequencies. Also, frequencies beyond a few petahertz (far UV, Xray, etc) are not only impractical but have some likely dangers. Furthermore, if you don't want to be limited by line-of-sight, the situation quickly worsens for valleys deeper than a wavelength (10 meters at 30 MHz, 1 meter at 300 MHz, etc.)

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (2)

wings (27310) | about 3 years ago | (#35562534)

There's a second and very important limitation: Signal to Noise Ratio. Noise has a physical minimum, so to increase SNR more power is needed.

This.

See Shannon's Law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannon%E2%80%93Hartley_theorem [wikipedia.org]

Shannon's Law contains nothing about current limits in technology.

Basically, for a given Signal to Noise ratio at the receiver (specifically at the detector), when the noise power approaches the power of the smallest bit division, you cannot reliably recover those bits and further subdivision is pointless.

Even in a lab, Signal to Noise is never infinite, and put a finite limit on the number of bits you can send in a channel. In the real world, the Signal to Noise at the receiver only gets worse the greater the distance between the transmitter and the receiver (inverse square), and this excludes other sources of 'noise' such as interference from other signals, multipath, propagation or other degradation effects such as holding your iPhone incorrectly.

IAARE (I Am A Radio Engineer)

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (2)

rufty_tufty (888596) | about 3 years ago | (#35562722)

I was trying to paper over that complication in my post with the concept of the channel, seems like someone's called me on it ;-)
In short I agree, but using this as a platform to discuss an interesting bit of technology I'd like to see if I've got some fundamental concept wrong here.

As I understand the term SNR is often used to encompass a number of complex issues. Noise can be injected from many sources, the transmitter, the receiver, the channel, interference, noise floor of the background etc
In my argument for infinite bitrate we'll assume transmitter and receiver are perfect therefore no noise.*
The channel will introduce irregularities in the signal that will show up as noise, it will distort and corrupt the signal. However there are a number of techniques that allow you to measure the channel's behaviour, and effectively invert this distortion, I believe technologies like VDSL use this technique extensively to mitigate the channel effects. Therefore we'll assume in the perfect system the distortion effects of the channel cam be compensated forby inverting the transform that the channel performs.
Interference: Noise from other people using the same spectrum or harmonics from others, again we'll ignore this.
Which leaves flicker and thermal noise. This has a constant power density over a certain frequency range; that is, the wider band you receive on the more noise power you pick up. Conversely if you have a number of lower bandwidth channels you get less noise per channel. This is why systems such as VDSL use many many carriers working in parallel to achieve the high bandwidths they do and it's why you get megabits of data over a few kilohertz bandwidth of twisted pair. So the important thing for this one is the SNR per channel not the total SNR, therefore again this noise source can be mitigated.** [Checking some maths and references on this I can't get a good handle on which is dominant: one being a 1/f and one being an RMS based source so actually I'm not sure how FDM would help if an RMS noise source is dominant which would happen in the limit.]

So yes I know there are limitations our current ability to extract bitrate from a certain bandwidth, but I know of no reason why physics limits the bitrate per bandwidth. Now I'm sure quantum physics is going to rear its nasty head at somepoint soon, 'cause it always does that as soon as I start to have fun ;-)

* Yes I know this will never happen in practice, but if my lecturer can do it so can I ;-)
** Okay not information got from a lecturer but from a friend who I got nattering to down the pub, i must buy him a drink and ask him about this conversation since he designs VDSL software....

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35562946)

Look up Shannon's limit. The information you push through that spectrum is most definately limited.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannon%E2%80%93Hartley_theorem

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35564106)

SNR plays into this quite a bit as well. Gigabit in a kilobaud is theoretically possible, but the SNR required to do it would be pretty extreme. For example, standard digital DVBS uses QPSK and the noise floor can be above the signal and the signal is receivable. However that's only two bits per symbol. If you go to DVB-S2 and all the way up to 32APSK you get 5 bits per symbol but require somewhere around 5dB SNR which doesn't sound like much but it can be hard to maintain.

Even still you have to count in the modulation overhead, S2 QPSK can only get as high as 1.8 bits per symbol useful data while S2 32APSK can only get as high as 4.5 usable bits per symbol. 32APSK is stretching it as far as satellite communication goes, not many companies have actually managed high symbol rate 32APSK.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 years ago | (#35568340)

Each new level of phase discrimination adds to the power requirements - there is no free lunch. I use Phase shift keying in Amateur Radio, and there are 3 popular modes - PSK31, PSK63, and PSK125 (baud rate) with 2, 4, and 8 phase detections. PSK125 can drop out yet PSK31 is still quite usable depending on band conditions - atmospheric noise and phase shifting can be a real bear. So each addition of phase angles increases the power needed to maintain a reliable connection, until the power requirement is also infinite. Most very practical.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35563120)

As mobile networks have progressed, they have reduced the sector size (serving area of a single radio). This is how you reuse spectrum.
Its not that there is e.g. 10MHz of spectrum in the 850MHz band for the whole world, its for the distance you send it. You can then reuse it a few blocks away. The smaller the sector size, the greater the costs of the backhaul (fixed cabling) network. So its a trade-off.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

hazydave (96747) | about 3 years ago | (#35563504)

Yup. And above 60GHz or so, air becomes opaque to RF. If Spectrum were really infinite, there wouldn't be billions spent on buying newly available frequencies... it would be far cheaper to develop higher frequency hardware. But physics is one of those uncorrectable things.. more money doesn't get you a break in the law.

It's not just spectrum that's the issue, but usable spectrum. The first big issue is free space path loss. For example, let's consider Verizon LTE at 700MHz versus Sprint WiMax at 2500MHz, just to keep with the theme of the topic. Based on the Friis equations, all things being otherwise equal, the Sprint link loses 100dB at 1km distance, while the Verison link loses 89dB... that's an 11dB advantage. That guy who won the 60GHz auction is at 128dB loss at the same distance... Verizon may not have the bandwidth one might be able to buy at 60Ghz, but they'll have a 39dB advantage in the field.

And it's worse than that, in practice. Most of these lower frequencies, lower UHF band stuff like Verizon and AT&T's LTE at 700MHz, do just dandy passing though foliage and buildings. Higher frequencies.. not so much. I work in digital radio design. My first generation RF technology was based on a semi-proprietary narrowband link for R/C and robot control (Nomadio Sensor and React on the commerical market, a thing called the "Bombot" which, along with a few other contracts, had our radios controlling more than half the robots in the early days of the Iraq war).

I have a 26 acre tree farm surrounding my house, so I did plenty of early testing there. The 2400MHz narrowband stuff we did could go 1500ft, but very line of sight. In testing from my back yard, I got great links up until the forest... maybe 100ft away. On another project, we were developing a customized 802.11 mesh network at 430MHz. So yeah, a bit more output power there, but the big win was that, from that same backyard deck, it didn't simply stop at the tree line, the very early prototypes did the half-mile to the country road behind my house. Through all that foliage.

So that's the deal here... most of the old UHF-TV band is prime, sweet, goes-through-trees spectrum. That's why those who don't have it will (the original 800Mhz AMPS bands took off the UHF channels up to 83 or so, the 700MHz band took those in the upper 60s... which was a good thing, given the lack of full use of the TV band anyway) want it.

For any of these auctions, there are rules that say the buyer must develop the spectrum within a certain time, or they get a shortened ownership, and, eventually, risk losing it entirely. The FCC isn't quite as stupid about this stuff as many (myself included) would have expected.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

pclminion (145572) | about 3 years ago | (#35564896)

You are confusing Nyquist rate and Shannon capacity. Not only two different concepts, but two different inventors. The maximum rate at which you can reliably transmit information on a noisy channel is the product of two factors: bandwidth and SNR (in reality, the log of SNR+1, but whatever). In theory, you can transmit as fast as you want with as small a bandwidth as you like, so long as your SNR is sufficiently high.

In practice there are physical and economic limits, but there is no mathematical limit, as you seem to be suggesting.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35610154)

I think the shannon limit is more appropriate here. It basically says that channel capacity (bits per second) is limited by bandwidth and SNR. Some of the technologies that exist today can come close to the Shannon limit. So spectrum is a limited resource.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | about 3 years ago | (#35558440)

There is infinite supply of spectrum if you are willing to invest in equipment to use it that way.

Are you intending to be intentionally miss leading? Propogation issues is a huge a problem depending on which frequency range you're using, then it's further complicated by the fact that you have a finite limit of how much data you can put through an allocated set of frequencies that fits your purpose, even with wide spread frequency radios

All frequencies can be split many many times.

You can introduce multiple feeds of data with wide spread frequency radios that use frequency-hopping spread spectrum methodology to work could certainly do this, but many frequencies would have issues of noise, doppler shifts and even obstacles. Then to further be capable of handling vast amounts of data... You're severely limited in range of frequencies you can use for this technology.

I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's a huge amount of engineering involved that would be difficult to provide a growing need for bandwith. Especially when these useful frequencies are taken up already by a lot of legitimate uses to begin with.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35558764)

There is infinite supply of spectrum if you are willing to invest in equipment to use it that way. All frequencies can be split many many times.

Incorrect.

You will be lucky if you can consistently pick up the signal from a 100w 60GHz transmitter with high-gain antennas on either end over a 500m distance. The air itself will absorb the energy. I think nitrogen is the culprit for this particular frequency, other gases render other parts of the spectrum useless as well.

At some point, you will be transmitting visible light, then you are over into gamma rays, which you won't be allowed to use because of health concerns.

At higher frequencies (>10GHz) it becomes extraordinarily hard to design mass-produced circuits that can handle the bandwidth of the signal. If it wasn't, your processor would already be running at a clock rate measured in terahertz.

Spectrum truly is a limited resource.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | about 3 years ago | (#35560110)

There is an infinite amount of spectrum between 100Mhz and 101MHz, just as there are an infinite number of numbers between 1 and 2.
It all depends on how you can parcel up that available spectrum.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

Onuma (947856) | about 3 years ago | (#35561146)

Indeed. There is no theoretical limitation to how much you can cram into a frequency range.

The problem is creating the hardware and software to be able to transmit and receive all of that data reliably. For example, older satellite systems may only use 2-way polarization (vertical/horizontal), whereas modern systems can rotate their polarization not just in 90/180 increments. Again, this is just one example.
It's not a panacea, but we'll refine our techniques as technology improves and necessity pushes.

I'd like to see a system which combines FDMA, TDMA, DAMA and SSMA all in one though. It'd be a frequency hopping demand oriented spread spectrum network. To my knowledge, it hasn't been successfully tested yet (or even tried?).

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (2)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | about 3 years ago | (#35560286)

Sorry but you are Extremely wrong... there is a finite quantity of spectrum thats usable.. as the frequency gets higher its properties change.. for an example once your reach the terahertz range your starting to emit light and not sound anymore.. and we all know that light doesn't pass through solid object very well.. Which makes those ranges unusable for Mobile use where you definitely will experience impairment in your line of sight.

Another thing as you increase frequency the amount of power required to go the same distance increases aswell... At one point you will either be microwaving everything until it starts on fire or you have a transceiver every few feet to keep the power low enough to make it safe.

So there is a very finite amount of spectrum.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35567774)

for an example once your reach the terahertz range your starting to emit light and not sound anymore..

Wow...I'm pretty sure oscillations of electromagnetic fields is never ever considered sound, regardless of the frequency.

and we all know that light doesn't pass through solid object very well..

Uh, yeah, I'm pretty sure that electromagnetic waves do pass through solid objects pretty well, as solid objects are just air with a different index of refraction.

At one point you will either be microwaving everything until it starts on fire or you have a transceiver every few feet to keep the power low enough to make it safe.

Right...microwaves are on the edge of ionizing radiation. Your microwave oven emits microwaves that are ionizing, which is why you cannot place metal in the microwave. However, your cellphone also emits microwaves, but at non-ionizing frequencies, which is why all of the metal around you does not immediately become charged and shock the living crap out of you when you take a call.

Something tells me you have no idea what you're talking about, and I have no idea how anybody ever gave your any moderation points. Mod parent down for being completely incorrect, please.

Just in the past five years or so, Slashdot articles and comments have been going down the tubes - there is a marked difference I think.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 3 years ago | (#35568258)

Infinite spectrum? Not even. For Data, you're going to want UHF+ to begin with, as you can't modulate a signal with a higher frequency signal. Then you have say lower frequency signals in the HF range. Problem is that those signals can and do propagate around the world, and what's worse, depend on the time of day and sunspot cycle. Some geniuses always have big plans for HF during solar minimum, and then find out why that's a bad idea a few years later.

And data companies, despite update cycles, turn out to be really bad at understanding RF.

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | about 3 years ago | (#35560088)

Its not the Vendors that are holding up IPv6.. Vendors have been ready for it for a long time... Until recently there have been few to no companies deploying IPv6 networks.. Equipment vendors never make alot of products which do not have demand..

Re:Sounds a lot like the IPv4 crisis (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 3 years ago | (#35562140)

Those vendors will go away, then.

And the physical constraint on spectrum isn't as limiting as you think. Bandwidth can be improved by multiplying what are called "accesses" on the same frequencies. Time-access, aka time-slotting; code-access (CDMA); phase-access and polarity access (QPSK); pulse-coding (PCM); spatial access / spatial diversity. It can also be improved by improving sensitivity and selectivity.

You have to find vendors willing to implement those improvements, just as for the increase in IP address size.

Broadcasters have been historically stone-headed about improving their product. HD was supposed to be out a decade before it showed up. And now they're whining that the bandwidth they gave up in the process (because VHF was not needed for HD) should be given back to them.

babys condemn grownups hoarding food, killing etc. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557852)

there's a 'cost'.

so, we'll then expect to see you at any one of the million babys+
play-dates, conscience arisings, georgia stone editing(s), & a host of
other life promoting/loving events. guaranteed to activate all of our
sense(s) at once. perhaps you have seen our list of pure intentions for
you /us, beginning with disarmament?

Re:babys condemn grownups hoarding food, killing e (0)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#35557970)

Actually grown ups share food with babies - in fact share too much food considering the amount of obese children. I've never yet seen a 1 yr old have to put on a tie and earn his keep.

Re:babys condemn grownups hoarding food, killing e (3, Funny)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | about 3 years ago | (#35557990)

I told my three year old to get a job, she said she wanted to be a My Little Pony. Utterly worthless, I tell you.

Re:babys condemn grownups hoarding food, killing e (0)

The Mysterious Dr. X (1502541) | about 3 years ago | (#35558008)

Yeah, and my 5-year-old actually told me her job was to sit at home and play all day! Man, I wish I'd applied for that one. I bet my resume is much more impressive than hers, considering all the years of playing experience I have.

Re:babys condemn grownups hoarding food, killing e (0)

morgauxo (974071) | about 3 years ago | (#35558270)

You've never watched a TV show with a baby in it? You've never seen advertising with babies?

Re:babys condemn grownups hoarding food, killing e (1, Offtopic)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 3 years ago | (#35558358)

Yeah, I tried to put my < 1 yr old to work. He looked at me and was like "No, man. Shut up and feed me. Also, my diaper needs to be changed. Get on it."

no end to the infernal holycost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35558528)

none planned. as it should be?

Set them all on fire... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#35557896)

And hand the spectrum over to the next generation of 802.11b/g/n-esque applications.

Even confined to a couple of really sucky blocks of spectrum, the success of no-license-to-deploy, inexpensive wireless data standards has been extraordinary. Why not murder a few bloated, feckless, incumbents and hand over some proper spectrum for this proven and extremely useful application?

Re:Set them all on fire... (4, Insightful)

grumling (94709) | about 3 years ago | (#35558014)

Or, better yet, how about licensed radios that actually have some range to them? To get a license, you have to take an operator's test, not as technically-oriented as a HAM license, but more difficult than swiping a credit card at Best Buy. Then the last mile problem becomes YOUR problem, not the ISP/wireless phone company.

The wireless industry keeps telling congress that if they just get a little mo' (little mo' spectrum, little mo' tax money, little mo' market share) they'll be able to cover everyone, even the most rural areas, with super-fast Internet service. The problem is, they have no financial interest in rural areas. A tower is a fixed cost. If a tower is in a metropolitan area, that fixed cost is likely to be lower, mostly because towers can share back-haul resources. In rural areas, there may not be access to back-haul fiber. So it either needs to be built at great expense (X2 if you want 5 9's uptime), leased (at great expense), or just skip the whole thing and lie on the coverage map.

And since every carrier, now save 1, is capping data at 5GB/month, there's really no way rural broadband will truly be available from the wireless carriers.

FCC let us build our own networks!

Re:Set them all on fire... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#35559940)

The wireless industry keeps telling congress that if they just get a little mo' (little mo' spectrum, little mo' tax money, little mo' market share) they'll be able to cover everyone, even the most rural areas, with super-fast Internet service.

Meanwhile they're not even doing the things they're legally obligated to do. If you call 9-1-1 from a cellphone in Lake County, CA you can get transferred to Napa, or Mendocino, or even Oakland, but you won't get our local 9-1-1 dispatch. Where you go is probably based on whose cell you are on at the time; at minimum we have ATT, Edge, and someone's CDMA tower (guessing VZ based on the fact that you can actually get VZ here.) What the fuck? The towers aren't moving, and they know to which cell your phone is associated, but then they send you someplace totally illogical?

Re:Set them all on fire... (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | about 3 years ago | (#35560080)

Wasn't this the alleged reason why phones had to report GPS data to the tower? So that 911 would know where you are? They get the spying working but never mind that CYA excuse, it was just for show? Typical.

Re:Set them all on fire... (2)

KingMotley (944240) | about 3 years ago | (#35560036)

every carrier, now save 1, is capping data at 5GB/month

No, there are plenty of carriers that will let you use more than 5GB/month, however, it isn't FREE. Big difference. It's amazing how much people whine when they actually have to pay for stuff they want to use.

Re:Set them all on fire... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35560528)

No, they're whining about having to pay again for something that they already paid for.

Re:Set them all on fire... (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 3 years ago | (#35567364)

No, they didn't. The entitlement of this country is just insane. Read your contract. The government isn't there to save you from your own laziness and/or stupidity. Take responsibility for your own actions. I don't want to pay for a government that has to watch everything you do to make sure you don't do something stupid.

Who is actively developing? (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 3 years ago | (#35557950)

It's not a question of whom has spectrum that is undeveloped. It more a question of whom is in fact actively developing improved uses for the unused spectrum. I find it unlikely that the broadcasters are planning to revolutionize our global economy with any extra spectrum they still control.

Re:Who is actively developing? (3, Insightful)

RattFink (93631) | about 3 years ago | (#35557982)

The answer is neither. The real true innovation is far more likely from ISM bands then any of the licensed ones.

Re:Who is actively developing? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#35561742)

Likewise, I find it unlikely that the current telecomms carriers intend to do any public service with their slice of the pie.

Kiss HTDV goodbye (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35557962)

My friend who works at the FCC tells me that no broadcasters currently use 1080p transmissions even though everyone is investing in TVs that support it. The current maximum in 720p. And that it is likely that we will never see that since the telecom companies are going to grab the spectrum needed to do so away from the broadcasters. Apparently the a lot of channels this has already been done.

This concerns me because I am one of the few people who depends on over the air broadcasting rather than a wired network. So who should the government please? The minority who like me use broadcast TV? Or the majority who want to browse the internet on their smart phones? And how does funding NPR fit into public broadcasting fit into this?

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

The Mysterious Dr. X (1502541) | about 3 years ago | (#35558036)

Probably depends on how vocal the minority is. If they have to pick one or the other, a true democracy would, almost by definition, vote down the minority in favor of the majority. Fortunately for you, we actually live in a republic, in which the people choose someone to represent them in decision-making and then (at least in theory) try to persuade that person to favor certain choices. If you care, write your congressman, or whoever would be making the calls (no pun intended) on this one.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (4, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#35558090)

I don't live in America but a similar thing is happening here in Australia. There is very little broadcast in 1080p here. Most is broadcast either in 1080i, 720p or increasingly, standard def (576i on most channels, 576p on a couple).

I say 'increasingly' standard def because what's happening over here is that most TV networks have looked at the spectrum granted to them and made the decision they'll make more money from broadcasting, say, four or five SD channels in that multiplex, than they would from broadcasting one or two HD channels. So you see networks with half a dozen SD channels playing endless reruns of old stuff, rather than concentrating on one good HD channel with new content.

Which isn't all bad: it does give you a lot more choice when you're flipping channels. But all those people that bought 1080p sets really aren't getting use out of them unless they have it hooked up to a bluray player or HTPC. A few years ago when I was shopping for a TV I was on a limited budget, and consciously bought a high end 720p set rather than a low end 1080p set. Haven't regretted the choice once to be honest.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (2)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 3 years ago | (#35558468)

I can agree, but I honestly think most people also don't really care about this issue much.

Most of the people I know that even watched broadcast television were happy with their SD televisions before the switch. The whole switch-over in the US for many was just a headache. Those that do have new TV's, the main thing that they seem to like is the "clear" picture, which is provided by the change to digital transmissions - not HD.

Even myself, if I'm watching an SD signal that was meant for a 4:3 set then it's annoying. I get either a stretched picture or worse - letterboxing meant for 4:3 which REALLY compresses things. However, a 480p picture that is formatted for a 16:9 display honestly doesn't look bad to me at all. I've got a 46" 1080p set in the living room (and a 32" 720p in the bedroom). A lot of my television I'm getting off iTunes now, and the vast majority of what I buy I'm buying the SD version of. Between the two, the jump from 480p just isn't worth an extra $1 per episode.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 3 years ago | (#35562094)

Those that do have new TV's, the main thing that they seem to like is the "clear" picture, which is provided by the change to digital transmissions - not HD.

Unless you happen to live in what used to be the acceptable edge of the contour and could get a viewable analog signal, which means you now get nothing, or worse, a signal that blocks up and stops every ten seconds.

The only people who are getting the "clear" picture are those who already lived within a good signal range and had some other reason for bad analog. E.g., bad antenna cable that they replaced when putting up the new digital antenna. Or they gave up on an internal antenna and actually installed an outside one, which would have cleared up their analog signal, too.

Even myself, if I'm watching an SD signal that was meant for a 4:3 set then it's annoying. I get either a stretched picture or worse - letterboxing meant for 4:3 which REALLY compresses things.

I had to replace my old 4:3 set with a new HD one, and I've begun to notice one thing. Well, one thing amongst many: many broadcasters are sending their 4:3 SD images IN LETTERBOX, apparently assuming those who watch in SD won't care the picture is smaller and those who have HD watching the SD signal have zoomed the SD image to HD size. (Not stretched, but magnified both directions).

So, because I don't zoom SD to full size, I get the wonderful combination that my HD screen is smaller than my old CRT (an HD screen of the same width as my old CRT is about 12" less tall) and the picture they re sending is smaller to begin with. Marvelous.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35567786)

You are wrong. Broadcast TV was never 1080p. It was 1080i - that was what Australia opted for (we chose it over 720p). The ONLY way to get 1080p in Australia is from recorded media.

However, as you point out, Australian broadcasters are splitting up their channels and providing more SD and less HD (or none at all).

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (4, Interesting)

GrumpyOldMan (140072) | about 3 years ago | (#35558098)

First, the best quality is arguably 1080i (1920x1080 at 30fps), which is same resolution as 1080p once it is de-interlaced. 720p (1280x720 at 60fps) is better for motion, since it is not interlaced.

Second, the reason that nobody broadcasts 1080p is because there is not enough bandwidth in a single channel. To clarifly the current ATSC standards provide for 19Mb/s and require MPEG2 and limit the codecs they can use, which terrible compression. If broadcasters could use a modern codec (H.264, VP8, etc), then they could probably squeeze 1080p out of a single channel. But then you'd need to buy new digital tuners to get the h.264 encoded TV.

Third, broadcasters's greed is their own worst enemy when it comes to signal quality. In my area, many stations have as many as 2 SD sub channels (and our ABC has 2 HD channels, and one SD channel). Some are also carrying mobile DTV. These subchannels are usually re-runs of crappy old TV/Movies, music videos, shopping channels, and other junk like you'd see on basic cable. They limit the bandwidth for the main HD channel to 12Mb/s or less. I've recently put up a bigger antenna so I can pull in channels from a market 50 miles away, simply because the broadcasters there use less subchannels, and have far better quality.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (2)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#35558202)

Third, broadcasters's greed is their own worst enemy when it comes to signal quality.

Greed is also causing programming problems...

These subchannels are usually re-runs of crappy old TV/Movies, music videos, shopping channels, and other junk like you'd see on basic cable.

One station in a market puts up a "weather (sub)channel" that stations rolls in the dough. Obviously, all the stations must copy them and put up their own weather (sub)channel so as not to fall behind. None of them can pull their own weight against all that competition, so they all implode. Locally we are post bubble; my favorite weather subchannel is now continuous infomercials and laywer commercials with an intermittent weather border. Soon we'll have no weather (sub)channels in our local market, because like yogi says, no one goes there anymore because its too crowded. Kind of like the "news helicopter" cycle which has a wavelength of about a decade from the peak where all the stations have one to the trough where none have one.

I don't think "better for motion" matters. All that matters is conspicuous consumption (look at me, I can afford 1080i and you can't, ha ha!) and marketing numbers (1080i must be better than 720p because it has a higher number, right?). You must realize the average american TV in the CRT era was dusted less than once per year and never had its color / hue / saturation / brightness / contrast controls adjusted. The video equivalent of the audiophile is too small of a market to pay attention to. The only important part about HDTV is showing off to others that money was spent, and having larger numbers to brag about, picture quality is simply irrelevant.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35558500)

I don't think "better for motion" matters. All that matters is conspicuous consumption (look at me, I can afford 1080i and you can't, ha ha!) and marketing numbers (1080i must be better than 720p because it has a higher number, right?). You must realize the average american TV in the CRT era was dusted less than once per year and never had its color / hue / saturation / brightness / contrast controls adjusted. The video equivalent of the audiophile is too small of a market to pay attention to. The only important part about HDTV is showing off to others that money was spent, and having larger numbers to brag about, picture quality is simply irrelevant.

Man, I live in central Texas, and most (all?) Mexican soap operas are even offered in HD. How is that relevant? When Mexican soap operas are filmed in HD, I think the "lack of demand" argument for HD goes out the window. s/Mexican/Amercian/ too, but Jesus, especially with foreign TV..

I think you need to re-attune yourself with reality. HD makes big TVs not look like ass, better than normal TV, with bigger sets and same viewing distance. People like big TVs. Will people keep buying into new features like 3D, and larger sizes? I don't know. You cannot deny that "bigger, smaller, lighter, clearer, same price as my old TV (they have & will come down more)" is appealing to huge majority of the TV viewing public.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#35559246)

Eh, most stations that do sports use 720p because of the motion aspect (actually almost all the programming on my local's that are in HD are 720p, 1080i is mostly movies).

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 3 years ago | (#35558428)

One other thing the broadcasters did to shoot themselves in the foot was to insist on 8-VSB as a modulation method as opposed to the far superior COFDM.

They did not want to spend the money on upgrading their transmitters, which would have needed to be far more linear to work with OFDM. They would cover far more people with OFDM and generate more revenue, but that would have required long-term thinking on the part of the broadcasters.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | about 3 years ago | (#35586848)

Yep, this is the elephant in the room with regards to digital TV. And of course, the fact that it doesn't degrade gracefully. 8VSB doesn't deal very well with multipath.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

517714 (762276) | about 3 years ago | (#35560362)

You're not current on the ATSC [slashdot.org] standard. H.264/MPEG-4 AVC compression was incorporated.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

jwdb (526327) | about 3 years ago | (#35561680)

First, the best quality is arguably 1080i (1920x1080 at 30fps), which is same resolution as 1080p once it is de-interlaced. 720p (1280x720 at 60fps) is better for motion, since it is not interlaced.

I'd disagree - it's more complex than that.

60fps material is obviously better than 30fps for motion. When you say 720p and 1080p you do not specify the framerate, however, and 720p could be 30fps or 60fps. You typically have a choice between 1080p30 or 720p60 because the bandwidth saved by reducing the resolution can be used to up the framerate.

1080i30 is typically one of two things: progressive 24fps movie reel telecined up to 30fps , or native interlaced material at 30fps. The native stuff is actually 1920x540 at 60fps, so you actually have less vertical resolution than 720p, but in exchange you get a higher framerate - just as good as 720p with regards to motion. A telecined movie, on the other hand, can be transformed back into 1080p24 perfectly, assuming no lossy operations were applied to the pulled up signal (such as compression, unfortunately). Neither is equal to true 1080p30 and they're both far below 1080p60.

So: TV interlacing halves the vertical resolution but doubles the framerate - better motion at the cost of sharpness - and 2:3 telecine is a useless waste of space for anyone with a progressive TV. Both of these techniques can be applied to any resolution, be it 1080, 720 or 480.

Unfortunately, no one actually transmits 1080p60...

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35563408)

The native stuff is actually 1920x540 at 60fps, so you actually have less vertical resolution than 720p

Not technically correct. You do get only 540 vertical lines every 60th of a second, but they're a different row of pixels than the next frame. You get an entire 1080 line picture every 30th of a second. If your source is 30fps, then there's no practical difference between 1080p30 and 1080i60 once it reaches your set. In fact, if you delay your signal by a frame or two, you can display it as 1080p30.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

jwdb (526327) | about 3 years ago | (#35564482)

If your source is 30fps, then there's no practical difference between 1080p30 and 1080i60 once it reaches your set. In fact, if you delay your signal by a frame or two, you can display it as 1080p30.

True. Thing is, It may be changing now, but in the past the two interlaced fields were not taken at the same moment, and so it was not possible to bring it back to progressive 30. If you watch old interlaced tv programs on an LCD, you'll see a comb effect that no deinterlacer can fully get rid of short of changing it to 1080x540 @ 60fps.

In any case, 1080p60 is still better than 1080i60.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 3 years ago | (#35563944)

Motion creates interlace artifacts. 1080i looks great until something moves. That is why the more sports-oriented broadcasters use 720p60.

"The native stuff is actually 1920x540 at 60fps"

However it should be noted that some 1080i30 broadcasters actually use HDCAM (1440x1080) contribution, thus they are never at 1920x1080.

Regarding 1080p60, baseband video of that resolution requires dual-link 1.5 Gbps HD-SDI or 3Gbps HD-SDI, both of which are only now being deployed to broadcasters building new plants. There is a ton of legacy 1.5 Gbps HD-SDI plant (production, post-production, contribution, network master control, station master control) out there that can not handle 1080p60 today.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

jwdb (526327) | about 3 years ago | (#35564722)

Motion creates interlace artifacts. 1080i looks great until something moves. That is why the more sports-oriented broadcasters use 720p60.

Are you talking about the comb effect? You can get rid of that by playing the video back at twice the frame rate with each field a frame. Vertical resolution's lousy, but there shouldn't be any artifacts.

Unless of course the stream was first interlaced and then compressed with a lossy codec, as I expect most are. Then 720p60 should win, as the codec probably doesn't understand the concept of interlacing and will treat an interlaced frame in the same way as a progressive.

DVDs are a good example of a source that can be compressed first and then interlaced. Movies are often pressed as progressive 24fps with a telecine flag set to allow the player to produce interlaced output.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (3, Informative)

AlecC (512609) | about 3 years ago | (#35558210)

When I left the industry three years ago, broadcasters were using either 720p for fast moving stuff (sports) or 1080i for hi res stuff (drama, documentary), both using data compressed to 100Mbit/sec. Generally, studio infrastructure is standardizing on 100Mbit/sec for post-production, so you aren't going to get more underlying data even if they do upgrade to 1080p. It would be cheaper to fit an upscaler in your TV.

Is this a record? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35558294)

Is this a record of misinformation in a slashdot post?
Broadcast HDTV over the ATSC standard supports 720P or 1080I, with a maximum on one channel of 1 1080i stream + 2 480i streams. There's two important reasons why broadcasters can't provide 1080p;
1: It's not part of the ATSC spec. When ATSC was agreed as a standard the only HDTVs being sold were CRTs with horrible AV boards and Plasmas that were XGA (with "rectangular pixels"). Neither of these TVs supported 1080p, and a lot of them didn't even properly implement 720P.
2: Since the spec must change to support 1080p as a resolution it would be worth upgrading to a better codec like x264. The broadcasters could easily double their resolution using x264 in place of the existing MPEG2.

Why do the broadcasters care about more spectrum space? Likely because with the quality of OTA digital signals there's a real opportunity to compete with cable channels, and to be prepared for 3d tv.

Re:Is this a record? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35558610)

Well....in Europe we are using H.264 or Mpeg4 for HD sat tv and cable but...... they still limit it to 1080i. The good news is that because they are winning a lot of bandwidth this way we now have a LOT of HD 1080i channels.

Re:Is this a record? (2)

517714 (762276) | about 3 years ago | (#35560438)

Out of date information - 1080p and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC compression is now part of the ATSC [slashdot.org] standard.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#35558362)

It is fairly hard to make a public-interest argument in favor of using scarce(note to spread spectrum and other tech-trick enthusiasts: yes, how limited it is strongly depends on how smart you are about it; but it is finite) spectrum for high-bandwidth broadcasts.

There are the "public information dissemination"/"cultural goods" arguments, which are reasonably strong; but also amply satisfied by even AM quality voice and smeary NTSC quality video. More video bandwidth is certainly better; but that "better" is simply an aesthetic improvement, not a matter of any significant interest(especially in a world where the bandwidth of blu-ray+USPS is so damn high. There is a value in people being able to get current news/political events/hazard warnings in real time; which is a broadcast specialty; but there is no need to allocate enough spectrum so that they can count the pores on senator scumweasel's nose. For ~$12, you can get 50GB video entertainment chunks mailed to your door, not to mention consoles and HTPCs and all the other non-broadcast uses of HDTVs)

That said, I'm really not an enthusiast of the "sell it all to Verizon, Ma Bell knows best." theory of spectrum allocation. I'd prefer to see a much stronger support of un or minimally licenced data-transmission spectrum, along the lines of wifi; but with spectrum that doesn't totally blow. Even laboring under those restrictions, wifi has been an amazing success, and the possibilities of future minimal-licensing wireless are really much more compelling than "another bunch of TV channels" or "200mb/s TO YOUR CELLPHONE* *Capped at 5GB/month, overage $10/GB, you're damn right other terms and restrictions apply, see 2,000 pages of fine print for details.*"

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35562110)

But why is your "I want the spectrum for data-transmission a la wifi" or their "we need it to support mobile devices" any more important than my "I want OTA TV in high def"? I'm curious what you think you're going to do with that bandwidth that amounts to more than an aesthetic improvement. After all, a simple voice only phone works fine for allowing two people to communicate...

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#35562494)

I'm for adding it to unlicensed spectrum as well. However weak the public interest argument is for free OTA television, it's even weaker for giving it to cellular providers so they can charge us outrageous rates to allow us to actually use it.

WiFi and bluetooth among other things have shown that unlicensed use of spectrum is by far the most innovative and generally useful. The ISM band is a teeny sliver of the whole spectrum and look what we get for it. AT&T even depends on it to make video conferencing on the iPhone work.

The cell providers can get the expanded capacity they need by going with more smaller cells.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#35570790)

I'd agree there. Any handoff to team telco is going to have all the charms of the post-soviet oligarchical "privatization", where a very juicy piece of public property is sweethearted away by one of a few well connected entities. ISM band really ought to get it(or, perhaps, a special form of licensed band, where any piece of hardware conforming to some open industry spec may freely use it, so that you get most of the ISM freedom; but without arc welders and cheapo analog video blasters playing hell. That would be a little tricky to get right; but is conceptually interesting.)

The kernel of my argument, though, is that use of that hiqh-quality spectrum by legacy broadcasters is actually not much better, it just has the advantage of being a folly a generation or more old, which eases the sting a bit, and of taking its pound of flesh in advertisements and opportunity costs, rather than direct hits to the credit card. I do think that there is a valid public-interest argument in favor of universal baseline availability of news, politics, safety alerts, and the like available swiftly, at low cost, and with no particular technological sophistication needed(whether TV "news" actually provides this is open to debate...), and those are areas where broadcast is both historically and technologically a good model.

Beyond that fairly narrow(in purpose and in bandwidth) public interest argument, though, I find myself extremely skeptical that OTA broadcast can possibly make better use of scarce bandwidth than can the robustly innovative users of the ISM band. This especially so given that high-bandwidth video, for all but time-critical applications, is something USPS can kick virtually any data link's ass at, and is available across the country for peanuts. Obviously, at some point, "public interest" is basically a polite way of saying "what I think people should want", and ends up in a simple clash of tastes; but I think that the occupants of the miserable little ISM slice have more than proven their worthiness of more and better spectrum...

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35558390)

1080p is not part of the HDTV standard.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 3 years ago | (#35562322)

Your information is out of date. 1080p was added to the ATSC standard in the 2008 revision.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | about 3 years ago | (#35558774)

This is almost correct.

The DTV specifications are such that 720p, 1080i and 1080p all use the same video bandwidth, because 720p is presented at 60fps and 1080i and 1080p are presented at 30fps (though 24 is also available for both resolutions and 30 is also available for 720p)

The only reason I can think of for a TV broadcaster choosing 1080i over 1080p is that material shot at 24fps will transcode poorly to 30fps progressive, and vice-versa, wherease transcoding 24fps material to 60fps for 720p or 60 fields/sec for 1080i tends to produce fewer artifacts.

The most important takeaway, however, is that the choice not to use 1080p has nothing to do with bandwidth.

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

517714 (762276) | about 3 years ago | (#35560250)

1080p transmission is possible under the 2008 revision to a HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1080p#ATSC">ATSC standards, the majority of receivers could not decode the signal so why would a broadcaster wish to spend money on something new that few could watch?

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (2)

517714 (762276) | about 3 years ago | (#35560278)

Sorry, S/B

1080p transmission is possible under the 2008 revision to ATSC [wikipedia.org] standards, the majority of receivers could not decode the signal so why would a broadcaster wish to spend money on something new that few could watch?

Re:Kiss HTDV goodbye (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 3 years ago | (#35563798)

It should be noted that 74 CFR 73.8000 [gpo.gov] incorporates by reference:

"ATSC A/53B: "ATSC Digital Television Standard," dated August 7, 2001, Revision B, with Amendment 1 dated May 23, 2002 and Amendment 2 dated May 19, 2003, IBR approved for 73.682, except for section 5.1.2 of Annex A, and the phrase "see Table 3â(TM)" in section 5.1.1. Table 2 and section 5.1.2 Table 4."

Thus the ATSC revisions after 2003 are not incorporated into the law.

But the most important thing is that $2.5 billion worth of DTV converter boxes (46.2 million boxes) were provided by the US government through its coupon project, and none of these supported 1080p or anything else but MPEG-2 video & AC-3 audio.

700 MHz band (5, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | about 3 years ago | (#35557968)

TV Broadcasters in the U.S. freed up huge swaths of bandwidth in the 700 MHz range during the switchover to digital TV. This frequency range has a lot of very useful attributes, like being able to penetrate buildings and travel large distances - attributes that are ideal for wireless data transmission. Portions of that bandwidth was subsequently auctioned off [wikipedia.org] for about $20 billion, austensibly to permit the development of new wireless services. The auction concluded a few years ago, and yet I haven't heard anything about anyone developing new wireless infrastructure around it. As far as I know, there isn't even a baseband chipset for it yet. What gives?

Re:700 MHz band (3, Insightful)

PhrstBrn (751463) | about 3 years ago | (#35558078)

Because the companies who bought it have no intention of using it, they just want to prevent somebody else from using it and developing a product that would hurt their bottom line.

Re:700 MHz band (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | about 3 years ago | (#35558134)

So, Frequency trolling then? Then there's the "Competition breeds innovation" problem where "competition" is infact price fixing tax dodging duopolies of the "free" (to a given value of free) world. I'm glad EMEA and APAC aren't tied to (quite) the same problem as the americas, where the EU's anti-trust ban hammer actually has a little power. Far from perfect, but every little helps [grr tesco! stupid slogan].

Re:700 MHz band (3, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 3 years ago | (#35558406)

It should have been use it or lose it.

You have 5 years to have something on the market with this spectrum that reaches at least 50% of Americans or it goes back on the auction block.

Re:700 MHz band (2)

Svartalf (2997) | about 3 years ago | (#35558086)

Verizon's using it for their LTE offering... The other tech that others was pushing kind of dropped off the face of the earth as best as I can tell.

Re:700 MHz band (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35558126)

Qualcomm used it for the flo tv stuff. They gave up and sold the spectrum to at&t.

And the NAB is absolutely right (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 3 years ago | (#35558064)

Wireless carriers are certainly not developing the spectrum they have, either because of over-burdensome regulations associated with doing it, or because the spectrum they have is not appropriate for the mission.

Not all spectrum is good for all uses, and the costs associated with developing an entirely new set of hardware resources for a new frequency band may or may not be worth the investment.

Re:And the NAB is absolutely right (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 3 years ago | (#35564970)

Wireless carriers are certainly not developing the spectrum they have, either because of over-burdensome regulations associated with doing it, or because the spectrum they have is not appropriate for the mission.

Yeah, those are the only possibilities, not that they would ever buy it just to prevent competition. Oh no, they would never do such a thing. If the spectrum was not worth using, they would not have bought it.

Seperate spectrum from carriers (3, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 years ago | (#35558110)

I believe we need a system where the towers (AKA spectrum) are owned & operated by a regulated entity and that a standard (GSM/LTE) is agreed upon. Then the carriers can sell service and value-add to differentiate themselves.

Re:Seperate spectrum from carriers (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 years ago | (#35561610)

I believe we need a system where the towers (AKA spectrum) are owned & operated by a regulated entity...

#goodluckwiththat

Re:Seperate spectrum from carriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35563274)

A private entity (lightsquared) is trying to do this. The concept is called an MVNE (mobile virtual network enabler). The concept is that the wholesale entity owns the infrastructure, and sells to all retail entities without discrimination.

Limited-time leases (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35558920)

The problem is that the spectrum leases are not time-limited. If a license owner had to win a spectrum auction every 10 years, they would only license the spectrum they need. Holding unused spectrum would be much more expensive, and they would know that if they need more, they can bid on it in the future. Current spectrum holders could get a "discount" on bidding for renewals to make sure that we don't have undue churn in providers, but new players would be able to enter.

I'm quite sure Google would love this idea :)

Re:Limited-time leases (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 3 years ago | (#35561350)

The problem is that the spectrum leases are not time-limited. If a license owner had to win a spectrum auction every 10 years, they would only license the spectrum they need. Holding unused spectrum would be much more expensive, and they would know that if they need more, they can bid on it in the future. Current spectrum holders could get a "discount" on bidding for renewals to make sure that we don't have undue churn in providers, but new players would be able to enter.

I'm quite sure Google would love this idea :)

How would you deal with amateur radio (and government / military / public service / business class)? Those frequencies aren't owned by a corporation. All the taxi companies are going to band together? Your system doesn't scale well.

open frequencies (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 3 years ago | (#35563818)

Personally, I'd deal with the ISM bands about the same as they are now, except I'd double the amount of spectrum dedicated to them. You have XYZ set of rules to comply with. If you want higher power, fewer rules, you need to buy some spectrum. There's not many rules about you pitching a tent in a park somewhere. They get a lot more complicated if you're looking to build a house.

Comcast would not fix their line (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 3 years ago | (#35558922)

I switched to over the air TV and wireless internet because Comcast would not fix their cable connection which had always been on the weak side and just got worse and worse over the years. It is very important to keep the broadcast spectrum available because there are not any reliable alternatives. Oh, I should say that in my last conversation with a Comcast executive, I was told I had to have cable to get digital TV. I think she believed this.

In a related story (2)

kimvette (919543) | about 3 years ago | (#35561380)

In a related story, AT&T is claiming their acquisition of T-Mobile is good for America and helps to consolidate spectrum usage (as if AT&T doesn't have enough of the spectrum already). Check it out!

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/at-t-makes-its-t-mobile-case-patriotism-spectrum-crunch-mobile-broadband/46288?tag=nl.e539 [zdnet.com]

I would rather see Google acquire both T-Mobile and Sprint and offer services more like an ISP - a flat rate for X bandwidth (tiered based on allocated speed like any other ISP), regardless of whether you use it only for voice, or watch netflix 24/7, or decide to do something really boneheaded and use it as the Internet connection for your entire corporate LAN. That would result in a shakeout of the cellphone industry and cause AT&T and Verizon to improve their networks (and make good on the subsidies they've already been paid to make things happen) and correct their inflated pricing structures.

Summary (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 years ago | (#35562292)

Let's see, the telecomms would like for us to give the public spectrum to them so they can charge us rapacious rates to use it for data transfer and then pay even more for cable TV (often another division of those same telecomms carriers) so we can still receive television now that we gave them our spectrum.

Meanwhile, the the entire world of 802.11 which has truly innovated and grown (to the point that those very telecomms are dependent on it to keep their rickety networks from falling over) is to remain stuffed into the corner with the baby monitors.

One solution to the bandwidth crunch is to play Santa and give the telecomms vast swaths of a public resource that we are already using (enclosing the commons yet AGAIN). The other is for them to use smaller cells and double or quadruple the capacity of their current spectrum allocation. (Not to mention it would improve everyone's battery life, improve coverage and reduce dropped calls!) The only crunch in telecomms is their own refusal to actually invest in their highly profitable business.

If the PUBLIC RESOURCE is to be re-allocated, I say add it to the ISM bands so the actual public can use it. Next best, leave it as it is. At least the public doesn't have to pay a toll to get some use out of it's resource that way. Giving it to the greedy telecomms comes in dead last, even below rebroadcasting static over it as an artistic statement.

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