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PCAST: 1,000Mhz for public use

If you suffered through my long rant about a totally different way to allocate wireless spectrum which would benefit everyone then you'll be happy to read this Arstechnica article about Obama's PCAST initiative moving forward.

The old way to allocate frequencies was to give different industries their own "block". Each radio station, TV channel, WiFi protocol, etc. gets a block. This is inefficient. The new way is to have intelligent hardware that can share the spectrum: detect if someone is already broadcasting and back off seamlessly. The difference is that the first system is the best 1930s technology could provide. The latter is what you can do with modern systems where a computer can be programmed to actively monitor and control what is going on.

The Ars article made me smile. "The report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) says the "traditional practice of clearing and reallocating portions of the spectrum used by Federal agencies is not a sustainable model." Instead, spectrum should be shared."

I agree.

We have the technology. We have the support of the president. Now we just need to overcome the political will of the incumbent industries that are resistent to change.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli


Sharing can work if everyone is well behaved and cooperates (think Arpanet in 1984). A single non-cooperating or malicious actor (think LightSquared vs. GPS) destroys all of that

I look at this initiative as a way of preventing future LightSquared situations.

Jim, jamming events occur presently, both intentional and accidental. This change will improve our current situation.