As we have discussed in the past, we are actively working on research into dynamic spectrum management, participating in the Ofcom TV white space (TVWS) trial, setting up one of the first TVWS network links in the UK, and becoming the first company to qualify a geo-location database for TVWS operations in the UK. Since we began working in this area, we have met a number of people, companies and institutions whose goals and missions are very well aligned with our belief that the internet is a powerful force for social and economic good.
Amongst these was the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA). Like us, the DSA believes that by increasing dynamic access to unused frequencies we can close the digital divide, enable the Internet of Things, and alleviate the spectrum crunch. For the 4.2 billion people who do not have access to the internet, the main constraint is not technology, but affordability (see Richard Thanki’s work on the economic significance of licence-exempt spectrum to know more).
At the other end of the scale, the wealthiest countries are facing the very real risk of a spectrum crunch, made even more immediate by the ever-increasing number of things that are connecting to the internet wirelessly. Often the traditional static regulatory policies create artificial spectrum scarcity and this can become a limiting factor for innovation. By promoting changes to these regulations and increasing the spectrum efficiency, governments, businesses and consumers can all win.
So that we can work more closely with other like-minded organisations, and also to keep in touch with the latest developments in this exciting area, we have recently joined the DSA as a member. Next week I will attend the DSA Summit in Bogotá that will focus on the challenges being faced in terms of universal access to broadband, wireless data consumption, and the Internet of Things. I expect to build on previous conversations, start new ones with people that like us, believe that internet can be used not only for economic, but also social growth.
Joining the Alliance shows once more our commitment towards emerging technologies that can revolutionise the internet. Handling a scarce resource such as spectrum in an efficient and dynamic way has the potential to connect billions of people and devices. it’s a big challenge but one we believe is worthwhile.