Among the topics covered by President Obama in Tuesday’s State of the Union address was a renewed call to expand high-speed wireless coverage. “Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans,” the President stated.
However, the President’s objective may be a daunting task, given that airwaves are a finite resource and demand is almost limitless.
As reported by Reuters, the Obama administration has endorsed making 500 megahertz of wireless spectrum available over the next decade to meet the growing demand for broadband services.The Federal Communications Commission hopes to repurpose 120 megahertz of spectrum through incentive auctions where television broadcasters like CBS Corp. would voluntarily give up spectrum in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.
Attempts at reclaiming spectrum through repurposing and similar initiatives have not always been successful. For example, most of the spectrum that the broadcast relinquished two years ago remains unused. Much of this has to do with the airwaves are allocated and managed, with the result being underutilization of spectral assets. .
Increasingly, there are calls to supplement government efforts to find new spectrum by making better use of existing resources, such as unlicensed spectrum. Large amounts of this bandwidth have been made available in the 900MHz, 2.4 and 5GHz, and now in TV white spaces. Advanced technologies such as xG’s xMax cognitive radio networking system help unleash the potential of unlicensed spectrum, turning it into a valuable economic asset and a weapon in meeting the nation’s wireless challenges.