Lite Licencing as a Spectrum Allocation Model

I met Jack Unger at iWeek in September this year. Jack is involved with WISPA.. kinda like the US version of WAPA.

He shared some ideas on how the US independent wireless operators have been working with the FCC (their regulator) to find some middle ground in frequency spectrum allocation.

Something in between the free-for-all ISM model and single/dedicated allocation.. a shared but regulated model.

Frequency spectrum is a finite (scarce) national resource… you can only chop it up and assign so many 20Mhz chunks… well, that’s true in the traditional (often static) dedicated allocation model.

This model works if you have 1 or 5 “big” (~monopoly / protected) telecoms providers, but in a deregulated and open telecoms market you need another way of assigning spectrum.. making sure it is used efficiently.. for the common good of the market and citizens.

Enter: Lite Licencing

“Lite Licensing” is a novel and progressive frequency allocation model where network operators (ECNS licensees) would pay a relatively small fee for a nation wide, non-exclusive license. They then pay an additional nominal fee for each base station they deploy. All their stations must be clearly identifiable and in the event these stations cause interference which cannot be mediated by technical means, licensees are required to resolve the dispute between themselves.

With a bit of luck (lobbying, PR, clenching of fists and grinding of teeth) I hope industry bodies like the ISPA and WAPA can work with ICASA to implement the same model in South Africa soon.

Spread the word.

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