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Congress Wants Federal Government To Sell 1755-1780 MHz Spectrum Band

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the for-sale-by-owner dept.

Government 88

GovTechGuy writes "With next year's reverse auction of TV spectrum not expected to sate the wireless industry's growing demand for mobile broadband, lawmakers are turning up the heat on the Obama administration to auction the 1755-1780 MHz band, which is considered especially desirable for mobile phone use. However, the Pentagon and other federal agencies are already using those airwaves for everything from flying drones and surveillance to satellites and air combat training. They say it would take ten years and $18 billion just to vacate the band so it can be sold."

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88 comments

Congress should focus on what it's good at (-1, Troll)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year ago | (#43701685)

Sex, drugs and fartgas. All the electromagnetic spectrum should be given to CUBA for radio broadcasts to enlighten the poor suffering people living under the despotic murderous rule of Wall Street.

My mom died 5 years ago today. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43701737)

Why does the world discriminate against me? I can't even fucking turn on the TV.

Re:Congress should focus on what it's good at (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#43702343)

Sex, drugs and fartgas. All the electromagnetic spectrum should be given to CUBA for radio broadcasts to enlighten the poor suffering people living under the despotic murderous rule of Wall Street.

Obviously, someone is paying these CONgressMEN to push for the sale, my questions are who and for what purpose?

Re:Congress should focus on what it's good at (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43703115)

having you been living under a rock for the last ten years? It's part of the ethos "Smaller government" which means private industry replaces the duties of a "government by the people" with a fascist one of "government controlled by corporate citizens" so these corporations need these assets to build their private army or their private space programs.

even better (0, Flamebait)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43701699)

However, the Pentagon and other federal agencies are already using those airwaves for everything from flying drones and surveillance to satellites and air combat training.

All the more reason to hand it over to civilian mobile phone use.

Re:even better (1)

nametaken (610866) | about a year ago | (#43701707)

However, the Pentagon and other federal agencies are already using those airwaves for everything from flying drones and surveillance to satellites and air combat training.

All the more reason to hand it over to civilian mobile phone use.

You think they'd just stop flying drones, call off air combat training, and neglect to send up replacement satellite hardware?

Re:even better (1)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#43702271)

Of course not. Evil people want to be evil as much as possible. There's no reason we should help them though especially when the frequencies could be used for beneficial uses. I say boot them off now. The world would be a better place for it while their ability to create new enemies hell bent on revenge with each drone strike is impaired, and secondly, new public data services would be profitable and useful for the public. It's a win win for humanity. Congress will definitely not go that route.

Re:even better (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#43702497)

Evil people want to be evil as much as possible. .

Please tell me you are joking. Or that you are 12 years old and feel that comic books are a accurate portrayal of the world or something. Nobody, other than a tiny fraction of one percent of insane people, wake up in the morning and actively set out to do "evil" things. Most people try to do what is good from them or a group of "their people". That group can be a family, country, religion, race, or even a company. Obviously in the case of brutal dictators, they are more concerned with their own benefit. But even so, they don't believe what the do is evil. They just feel what ever they do to keep power is a necessity to stay in power.

Re:even better (-1, Flamebait)

anagama (611277) | about a year ago | (#43702737)

Maybe I take a simplistic view of evil, but killing innocent people ranks up there in the evil category for me. So does propping up brutal dictatorships for decades. The US is the most violent and oppressive nation on earth. I count that as evil.

Re:even better (2)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about a year ago | (#43703277)

Stalin murders 10s of millions of his own people. Mao. Murders even more than Stalin.

US "invades" Vietnamese ostensibly (according to its detractors) to prevent Communism from spreading (the domino theory), and the inevitable massacre of civilians which would occur. The later argument was laughed at until the "Killing Fields" became known. (Yes the Khmer Rouge were Cambodian and were put down by the Vietnamese. Good for them!!)

The US props up dictators for all sort of Realpolitik reasons: the same as did/do the PRC (China), the USSR, France, England and all other political powers before (and those that will come). Some dictators (the Shah of Iran were far better than their successors).

And this makes the US the "most violent oppressive nation on earth." Iran, Turkey, Syria (even before the civil war), Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Myanmar are less oppressive than the US? What!?!

Fuck Bush, Fuck Obama. I say that without fear without the slightest concern that the US government will care in the slightest.

The US isn't perfect, but "the most oppressive?" Are you saying that because you disagree with the Iraq war? Yes, we should have acted differently but what about the mistakes of the UN, Saddam Hussein and Russia in the build up. (The UN by not giving a damn about it's sanctions and lines-in-the-sand being ignored , Saddam bluffing and acting like a blow-hard, and Russia giving Saddam aid and *apparently* moral support, indicating the US was bluffing and wouldn't invade.

Re:even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43704527)

None of the other countries you mentioned have been convicted of being a terrorist state by the International Court.

So there's that

Re:even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43704861)

We might not be the most oppressed but we are certainly leading the way in falling behind the rest of the world in technology as our small group at the top struggles to find more "benefits" for their group(s).

Re:even better (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about a year ago | (#43711661)

Dude!!! Falling behind in technology? And you're on slashdot!?!

The US is not the only country in the world. Europe and Japan had to rebuild after WWII. China went through it's horrors under Mao; rejected communism in deed, if not in name and is now rising to where it *should* be. Obviously the US share of world technological progress is becoming smaller. But, falling behind in technology. No.

We're leaders in biotech, at the forefront of nanotechnology and 3D printing. No. We're not falling behind.

Re:even better (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43708247)

The US props up dictators for all sort of Realpolitik reasons

By that argument, you can defend any action whatsoever. Hitler and Stalin didn't kill millions of people for the sake of it, or out of sadism, they did it as part of their political programs.

Re:even better (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about a year ago | (#43711725)

I'm not saying realpolitik is good. I don't think we should have propped up any dictator. I don't think we should be giving foreign aid. But to call the US the most "oppressive" nation on earth for doing what every other power does smacks of bias to me. Again this does not mean that I approve of realpolitik.

Re:even better (2)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year ago | (#43710005)

...the same as did/do the PRC...

Why did you use an italic 'L' there? Oh...

Re:even better (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#43702825)

Nobody, other than a tiny fraction of one percent of insane people, wake up in the morning and actively set out to do "evil" things.

True enough but sadly they're the very same tiny minority who covet power the most. Even if only an even tinier fraction of them are smart enough to accumulate it, accumulate, they do; look at history... or into the soulless eyes of a Washington D.C. politician.

Re:even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702917)

your right, evil is all from the point of view. a torturer is not evil, but ask anyone he is tortured. so the 1 person that doesn't think their evil is doing bad things to millions, perhaps billions of people, that makes them evil. cell phone GPS is not a security feature, spy drones are not there to keep you save, a satellite that can read the news paper your holding is not there to make YOU safe. they could all be great things, but look whos controlling them. they have not been deemed evil.

how many bad guys have been caught by tracking their cell phones?
how many stolen phones have been recovered?

Re:even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43704851)

What is good for their group of people can almost exclusively be considered evil to anyone not in that group. Trust me, I work for local governemt and I see how "fringe benefits" work. Remember the Atom Bomb was built with good intentions: "To end all war".

Re:even better (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#43703071)

Government usage of RF spectrum has a reputation of being grossly inefficient. In this entire band, which could easily support tens of thousands of cell users in an area, if not hundreds of thousands, the federal government might have a dozen or two users. Instead of using bandwidth packing digital and spread spectrum modes, they tend to use older more wasteful radio services, which are more prone to interference from other users. About the most efficient usage typically attained is analog trunked systems, which share RF space, but are still prone to interference. The even worse thing about the trunk systems are that they are usually more to prevent citizens from their civil right to listen to public service communication, instead of any good faith effort to conserve/share RF space.

In other words they are using radio space worth hundreds of millions of dollars to operate what is essentially the equivalent of couple of smart phones.

Re: even better (1)

jiriw (444695) | about a year ago | (#43703227)

Those older technologies might be more wasteful in spectrum use... they most of the time are technologically less sophisticated which means easier to maintain in wartime.
An AM radio is much simpler to build and operate than your latest incarnation of an 'industry standard' 'packet switched' consumer communication device with built in audio compression. The latter needs several black boxes called 'microprocessors' and other hard to replace stuff. The former needs only a hand full of analog semiconductors or a few tubes. For some things, bandwith is not the primary concern. Also, many of those black boxes mentioned earlier don't mix very well with 'space'.

Re: even better (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#43707617)

Except that they already have extensive allotments on much more valuable (lower frequency) radio spectrum for analog communication anyways, ie. 6m, 2m, 1.25m, 70cm... Higher frequency spectrum is more interesting for data transfer due to higher available bandwidth, and less interesting for analog radio due to limited range.

Most communications with satellites is in the form of high bandwidth digital data, so I would say these "black boxes" (they are called radios) evidently work super tops in space. Communications satellites are equipped with linear transponders, which simply rebroadcast whatever they hear over a large range of frequencies to a different large range of frequencies. They do not care what the mode is, whether analog, digital, or exotic spread spectrum.

We are talking about 25mhz of super valuable broadband data spectrum. It is an enormous allotment, and in any enterprise besides government the operators could not afford to use it at less than 100%.

Frequency bands for highly directional signals (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43701713)

There should be free for all bands for signals with low total radiated power (say 10mW) to be emitted with relatively high EIRP (a few Watts), i.e. highly directional signals. This should allow for much better use of the scarce bandwidth and spur innovation in beam forming.

Re:Frequency bands for highly directional signals (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43702375)

I like the idea but think this is too low of a frequency. Just some loosely connected numbers off the top of my head: the 900MHz ISM band already allows you 36dBm (4W) EIRP. That's 26dB above the 10mW max total radiated power you suggest. At those frequencies (actually 1.6GHz) I've used 85cm dishes that have 20.6dBi gain. In other words, high enough gain antennas/arrays would be awfully big at these frequencies.

Re:Frequency bands for highly directional signals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43703235)

Technological progress should be allowed to make the best use of the very low total radiated power, so the EIRP limit would just be to prevent destructive excesses. That's the point of the concept: To have a beneficial limitation (low noise in that band) that also creates an incentive for better technology, not just for louder radios and wider bands, like the ISM bands are used now. To get a high EIRP, you would have to keep your antenna from leaking the signal in the wrong directions.

Nice fight! (4, Funny)

Exitar (809068) | about a year ago | (#43701747)

Capitalists vs Warmongers!

Re:Nice fight! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43701775)

And government wanting to hock more of itself so it can put off borrowing by, well, 4 days in this case, has nothing to do with it.

Re:Nice fight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43701827)

But we've got to short-shortsightedly extract a pittance from this valuable resource rather than utilize it for the future.

Re:Nice fight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702113)

One thing you can always be sure of in this situation is: whoever wins, we lose.

Re:Nice fight! (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about a year ago | (#43702351)

If they both lose, do we win then?

Re:Nice fight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702193)

Don't kid yourself. This is just more of the "hurr durr drones r bad" crap that is the newest fantasy freedom fight the extreme right is fellating itself over. They want to yank the spectrum out from under established technologies to allow for exorbitant exaggerations of said technologies' price tags, giving them more tools to hamstring the current administration.

Worst part? When they finally succeed and get into office on lies and deceit, the other side will start the whole thing over as they both assume positions that they previously decried. This is how we've gone from being the leaders of the free world to the fucking court jester.

Re:Nice fight! (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43708255)

Capitalists vs Warmongers!

It will be one of those fights where they both manage to win.

So, what happened to UWB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43701767)

Wasn't that supposed to make the idea of a band obsolete?

Lobbyists (4, Informative)

Etherwalk (681268) | about a year ago | (#43701779)

lawmakers are turning up the heat on the Obama administration

lobbyists are turning up the heat on Congress.

Fixed that for you.

Hint: https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000076 [opensecrets.org] [AT&T profile at opensecrets]

Re:Lobbyists (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43701951)

That is the meat of it, Etherwalk. But it's worth noting there really is a bandwidth shortage. I was part of the "band clearing" effort for the relatively disused 1710-1755 Mhz AWS band and it's extremely painful.

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/report/2013/sixth-annual-progress-report-relocation-federal-radio-systems-1710-1755-mhz-spectrum-ban [doc.gov]

The military, and other Federal agencies, both buy and maintain equipment that lasts virtually forever and the cost of new equipment that uses more modern bands is enormous. In many cases my employer simply purchased it for them. It doesn't matter if the FCC has sold you the band, if using it is going to interfere with life-saving traffic you have to have a "fix" that is better than sending them repeated violation notices.

Much like with Linux, the basic problem is with the users. 8 years ago voice traffic was the largest use of a wireless carrier's spectrum with 15-25% shaved off for GPRS-EDGE (or basic 3G UMTS) data comm. Now voice is a trivial component, and "phones" spend hours a day streaming Netflix and doing other things that consume 20x more bandwidth than a mere voice conversation. While Moore's law has applied nicely to handset capabilities, the pace at which spectrum opens up has not kept pace. LTE makes better use of the new spectrum, but it already requires a much better SNR than it's predecessors, there is no jump to "LTE2" that will save us from being this spot again in a few years, and people already want high-def video on their tablets.

So, actually "now" is the right time to push for freeing up some more spectrum so it will be available in the nick of time, just like the 3G spectrum for Apple's IPad explosion wasn't.

Re:Lobbyists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702177)

There is no bandwidth shortage, just carriers not upgrading their technology fast enough.

There are solutions that require no additional bandwidth... more cells, smaller cell sizes... which of course is more expensive.

Or you know, Cable/DSL/Fibre end points could start coming with a relatively low-power cell so that the customer's cell phone used inside the premises doesn't take up capacity on the closest tower cell.

The smaller cells would be ideal inside large enclosed spaces like convention centers, shopping malls and transit stations

Re:Lobbyists (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43703143)

Or you know, Cable/DSL/Fibre end points could start coming with a relatively low-power cell so that the customer's cell phone used inside the premises doesn't take up capacity on the closest tower cell.

As long as half of the population goes crazy over the radiation from cell towers, you'll have a hard time to convince them to put such an "evil" thing into their own home.

Re:Lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43704879)

If they would take half the money they dump into useless talking head CEO wages and half the money they throw, sorry lob(by), at washington there would be plenty of resources to upgrade.

Re:Lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43705847)

Or you know, Cable/DSL/Fibre end points could start coming with a relatively low-power cell so that the customer's cell phone used inside the premises doesn't take up capacity on the closest tower cell.

The smaller cells would be ideal inside large enclosed spaces like convention centers, shopping malls and transit stations

You mean Wifi?

Re:Lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43711327)

actually, yes wifi would do the job nicely. the mall has hotspots operated by the carrier (or a reseller getting money from the carrier), which routes data and voice traffic. With LTE VOIP coming soon, the voice component won't care how it is getting sent, as long as it meets bandwidth and Latency limits.

Re:Lobbyists (2)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#43707335)

1755-1780MHz? That seems a mighty thin slice to somehow magically fix the huge need for bandwidth.

Seems to me spectrum is quite finite, but the demand for bandwidth is or will be considerably more than what is available.

Others have pointed out that one thing to help is to do wired to localities, then low-power wireless access points, whether it be an home, a bar or a cell tower. Reserving a small slice of spectrum here and there for emergency systems, for instance, seems reasonable. (I'll leave aside other uses; that's a political discussion, not engineering.) Available spectrum is too valuable to hand over for kitten movies or whatever. The current system for doing wireless is short-term crazy and long-term impossible.

Re:Lobbyists (2, Insightful)

runeghost (2509522) | about a year ago | (#43701955)

Bingo. I know the mainstream media is useless, but on places like slashdot, it would be nice if people would stop pretending that congresscritters are anything but sock-puppets for their corporate owners.

Re:Lobbyists (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43707121)

Same thing, different word.

Capitalism! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43701789)

Capitalism is the menace that keeps the Western World living in abject poverty. It is the boogeyman that children are afraid of. It created the crime in the USA. The only true path to freedom is by breaking the 7 walls and returning to the 11th planet. By synchronizing your time displacement and putting all of yourself in the 6th dimension, you can truly fight against what people think is Capitalism. Join me in the great fight.

The code phrase is "PhyzniThlgrx". Remember to stare at Sirius (at 11 pm EST on May 12) while repeating this, over and over. And think about how you and everyone else doing this will bring down Capitalism with your collective will. You can cause change in the world by praying for it. On May 13, stare at Arcturus at 10:30 PM EST, and repeat the code phrase "Akxcophrngis" over and over again. Remember to pray for the end of Capitalism with your collective will while saying the phrase.

With any luck, we can reach through space and time and bring forth something that will end Capitalism forever.

Will it be ready? (1)

dohzer (867770) | about a year ago | (#43701793)

Will the next show about a murderer that only kills 'bad people' be ready by then?!

Screw that. (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43701865)

Make it public airwaves and give it to the ham radio operators. It's time they gave back some spectrum to us that has been stolen over the years.

Take time off of work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43701977)

and go a lobby yourself.

That is what it is going to take - every ham operator.

It's completely unfair - big corps can hire lobbyists to pester Congress and give them gifts and individuals are just drowned out.

You ham guys will get nothing and rest assured, more of your spectrum will be taken.

Re:Take time off of work (1)

YoungHack (36385) | about a year ago | (#43705299)

The more obvious approach is to join and support the ARRL, the most successful amateur radio lobbying group. It's not unlike gun owners joining the NRA. Even if you don't like all their actions, they're working harder than anyone else to preserve your rights.

Re:Take time off of work (1)

msk (6205) | about a year ago | (#43708613)

I let my ARRL membership lapse because they wouldn't stop sending me renewal notices shortly after I renewed my membership, no matter how much I asked them to. They wouldn't at least wait until shortly before my renewal date.

Re:Screw that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702099)

You fat greasy hams have taken more then your fair share of food for years now - it is only right something should be taken from you.

Re:Screw that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702475)

isn't ham like a cut of meat from a pig?

never heard of ham radio before. guess it is like CB radio FRS in the United States of America. not sure hot the US government can steal spectrum when they auction it off. I'm confused.

Pentagon use (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43702149)

Years later, after you fire up that shiny new iPhone, the Air Force suddenly realizes they forgot to re-tune a batch of HARM [wikipedia.org] missiles. Fortunately, nothing of value was lost.

This is a Jobs Program people! (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#43702191)

Come on, this is a jobs program.

1) Force the DoD to vacate the band. To do this the DoD needs $$Billions for new equipment to do this. This creates jobs, especially in the congressman's district pushing the legislation through. This gets the congressman re-elected by a happy electorate so we can perpetuate more gridlock.
2) Sell the bandwidth to Wireless Carriers who are immensely profitable (At least 2 out of the four are) to generate billions of dollars in revenue. That means the Feds can then hire more bureaucrats at the IRS to keep an eye on Tea Party folk.
3) The consumers get screwed with the bill, always.

Frankly, I don't think bandwidth should ever be auctioned off, it should be leased.

Re:This is a Jobs Program people! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43702897)

I agree - very Keynesian (cue trolls). It also beats the hell out of starting another unjustifiable war.

I hate this policy (3, Insightful)

scribble73 (879745) | about a year ago | (#43702213)

I hate this policy, of selling our public bandwidth to private corporations. I just hate it.

Airwaves are public. The Government should not be selling property that belongs to all of us. Leasing or licensing bandwidth for some specific period of time is one thing, but transferring ownership is another. We should not "privatize" this.

I am dismayed to see so many politicians and technical types just accepting actions like this, without any policy discussions taking place -- beyond closed-door meetings at the FCC, which are not shared with the public.

tt77

Re:I hate this policy (2)

Dputiger (561114) | about a year ago | (#43702287)

What are you going to do with a slice of spectrum? For that matter, what would *I* do with a slice of spectrum? And what would "public" ownership even mean in this space?

Re:I hate this policy (2)

ThreeKelvin (2024342) | about a year ago | (#43702437)

Let's see. With the slices of spectrum I've had access to I've: Used it for networking (802.11), used it for controlling my computer (BlueTooth+other protocols), listened to radio broadcast on it (AM+FM), used it for operating the sattellite I helped build (AX.25) ...

Other possible uses include baby alarms, remote car keys, walkie talkies, ...

Of course, some of those slices of spectrums are licenced to private organizations, some are more or less free for all, and just one of them was ours to play around with as we deemed fit.

As time goes by a it will only rise in price - I for one am only happy that my government doesn't sell of the airwaves, but lease them out instead.

Re:I hate this policy (2)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about a year ago | (#43702423)

I can understand "selling" (Licensing in the current auctions, though I am unsure if there are any time limits on this "License") portions of a spectrum so that companies/organizations/agencies know they can rely on the spectrum being there for their exclusive use. But portions of various spectrum should also be devoted for unlicensed public use. Just look at how Wi-fi and various wireless devices exploded on the market after the FCC pulled their collective heads out of the sand and allowed low powered transmitters on select frequencies. I imagine if the same were done for even a tenth of the spectrum in higher power modes (from mobile phone level (0.5W) to CB Radio (4W)) the wireless market (both voice and data) would explode with products and services. The protocols would have to be compatible (or at least not interfere with each other) across the board but the various 802.11 flavors proved that is doable.

Re:I hate this policy (1)

cats-paw (34890) | about a year ago | (#43704551)

+1

Headline is wrong (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43702229)

It should read:

Congressional 'contributors' want federal government to sell 1755-1780 MHz Spectrum band

Re:Headline is wrong (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43702875)

It should read: Congressional 'contributors' want ...

At this point it should just be understood that "congress wants" means "congressional contributors want". Anyone who doesn't realize that is either too bought or too naive to have an intelligent political discussion with.

Figures (3, Insightful)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#43702249)

lawmakers are turning up the heat on the Obama administration to auction the 1755-1780 MHz band

I figured it was only a matter of time before Congress pushed to sell off 1776 to the highest bidder. They've been pushing to sell off the Post Office's business for the last 6 years by forcing a financially sound organization into insolvency (see paragraph 3 here [wikipedia.org] ). Why not sell off American Independence [wikipedia.org] itself and Common Sense [wikipedia.org] while they're at it? It's like we gave the keys to our house to service employees and they're auctioning off the contents to lobbyists through the front door to the highest bidder, keeping the profits for themselves.

10 years? 18 billion dollars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702259)

This is how Software Defined Radio wins.

Re:10 years? 18 billion dollars? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43702393)

This is how Software Defined Radio wins.

How does SDR help here? And how do you know they aren't already using it for things like drones? The virtue of SDR is that one receiver/demodulator can handle many different modulation and coding schemes. It does not help the antennas and RF circuitry handle a wider range of carrier frequencies.

Spectrum allocation (4, Informative)

snsh (968808) | about a year ago | (#43702517)

It's startling when you look at a chart of frequency allocation [doc.gov] and see how much is allocated to DOD, maritime, and obselete tech. Meanwhile you have everyone and their neighbor competing over 11 channels for Wifi.

Re:Spectrum allocation (1)

tibman (623933) | about a year ago | (#43702611)

Very cool chart, thanks.

Re:Spectrum allocation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43702745)

From that chart, all I have to say is radio astronomy is fucked and the only place where they have any quiet is probably the far side of the moon.

Re:Spectrum allocation (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43703401)

From that chart, all I have to say is radio astronomy is fucked and the only place where they have any quiet is probably the far side of the moon.

Why? There's entire blocks reserved for radio astronomy, space research and earth exploration (with the addition "passive"; I assume that means you are only allowed to listen at those frequencies, not to send). And for those high frequencies, some of the blocks are among the largest.

If you take into account the radio window [wikipedia.org] the relation looks even better.

Of course a radio astronomer would like to have complete silence on the full spectrum, but then he'd even get into conflict with other astronomers who want to send their space telescope data back to earth. :-)

Re:Spectrum allocation (1)

jouassou (1854178) | about a year ago | (#43708171)

When observing the universe, you want radiation to pass through the atmosphere unaltered. When communicating on Earth, you want radiation to bounce off the atmosphere. So I would guess that the best frequencies for doing radio astronomy, are actually terrible for terrestrial communication :)

Re:Spectrum allocation (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43713077)

When communicating with satellites, you also want radiation to pass through the atmosphere unaltered.

Re:Spectrum allocation (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43703353)

I guess you are referring to the large blocks at the lower end of the spectrum. However note that not only are those lower frequencies mostly uninteresting for modern applications (you'd have no fun with a smartphone operating at 300kHz, for example), but those wavelengths have also extremely long reach, so any changes in those frequencies would likely need international treaties (it's not a surprise that most uses in that range carry the adjective "maritime" or "aeronautical").

Re:Spectrum allocation (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year ago | (#43710115)

Here's the 2011 version of that chart [doc.gov] .

Re:Spectrum allocation (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about a year ago | (#43710273)

PS - Thanks to the hard work done by the ARRL and others, amateur radio operators worldwide* will be getting a new MF band at 630m or 472-479 kHz [eham.net] (just below Broadcast AM radio). It's only 7 kHz wide (enough for 2-3 simultaneous SSB voice conversations). Lots of experimentation potential - now we'll see how Joe Taylor's excellent digital modes [princeton.edu] handle the unique propagation issues in that band.

*for most values of worldwide

they shouldnt have been on it in the first place (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year ago | (#43703057)

they took away reliable OTA TV to sell off the spectrum and some squatters just started using it, tough shit

Re:they shouldnt have been on it in the first plac (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about a year ago | (#43704705)

I think you're confusing 1700 mhz with 700 mhz .

Re:they shouldnt have been on it in the first plac (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43706579)

"mhz" is simply wrong. The abbreviation for Hertz is Hz, not hz (and not Avis, either).

mHz would be milliHertz. 1700mHz would be 1.7Hz.

This discussion involves 1700 MHz = megaHertz.

If you are going to correct someone, at least get it right!

Re:they shouldnt have been on it in the first plac (1)

brunnegd (1707568) | about a year ago | (#43713107)

Some people don't capitalize anything, just as they use silly acronyms or shortcuts instead of full words. Wait a few years, you won't recognize English, nor be able to communicate with your kids.

The Simple Spectrum Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43704591)

Give the 2.4GHz ISM band to the Telecoms for broadband data.

Re:The Simple Spectrum Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43708425)

So, you want to kill Bluetooth, NFC, Wifi, and Cordless Phones?

Fits Well with Obama's Recent Lobbyist Appointment (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43704625)

This fits in very well with Obama's agenda. After all he just nominated a Telecom lobbyist to head the FCC, and that nomination is expected to sail through the Senate largely unopposed due to the insane amount of money Telecom has put into the last few elections.

Don't forget that Obama promised there would be no lobbyists in his administration.

It's all about getting the Interwebs to all those free Obama phones.

Reverse Auction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43705545)

what a reverse auction looks like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hmns6PMWs0

Two weeks, 10,000 dollars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43705933)

That's how long everything takes and how much everything costs when making home renovations in a Money Pit. I guess 10 years, 18 billion dollars is as good an answer as anything else when governments are concerned.

A compromise: (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43707129)

Allow the federal agencies using it to optionally rent it out for a fee.

Build more towers (1)

backslashdot (95548) | about a year ago | (#43708457)

Mobile operators dont need more bandwidth. They can build more towers and the problem is solved cell phones automatically reduce power output and prevent themselves from interfering with each other.

Which is More Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43711847)

Which is more important? The military protecting our county, or teenage girls texting their friends? We need to get some realism into what we are doing with our spectrum allocations, stop the intrusion of mobile services into numerous other services, such as TV.

Allocations (1)

brunnegd (1707568) | about a year ago | (#43713073)

Which is more important: Military using 1755-1780 MHz to protect the country, or allowing a teenager to text 50 times a day to her friends? I vote for the military, or at least until the bad guys all go away.

LightSquared (1)

brunnegd (1707568) | about a year ago | (#43713143)

Remember the flap last year over Lightsquared wanting to use a space comms band, for terrestrial service. The band is next to the GPS frequencies, would have made GPS essentially useless. And we all know how much we use GPS for everything from finding your way to Grandma's house to landing airplanes. Fortunately, the application was denied (just barely), but the threats to frequencies will continue, if we do not stay vigilant.
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