[opendtv] Re: Tech Advisors Tell FCC to Launch Local Broadband Deployment Competition

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2011 23:20:26 -0400

At 5:14 PM -0500 4/25/11, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:

Not quite that easy. The FCC's push is not just for broadband, but for wireless broadband. Having adequate spectrum for wireless broadband is much more difficult in dense urban areas than anywhere else.

Bert is right about spectrum availability for rural broadband. But there may still be an issue with the economic viability of rural broadband, as there was with rural telephony. Might be a good use for spectrum auction revenues - i.e. use spectrum proceeds to subsidize rural infrastructure, so as to reduce the break even point for operators.

In urban and suburban areas, if you must deploy a lot more wireless broadband, you're better off, by far, reducing cell size. That's how you leverage off the potentially huge bandwidth available in the existing fiber optic cabled networks in densely populated areas, instead of going the brute force route of just adding more RF spectrum.

This is already happening in many areas with a variety of cell "sizes."

Wikipedia notes:

Typically the range of a microcell is less than two kilometers wide, a picocell is 200 meters or less, and a femtocell is on the order of 10 meters. although AT&T calls its product, with a range of 40 feet (12 m), a "microcell".

These techniques work well for augmentation of the networks, but only in limited ranges. THey are good for most indoor applications, offices, and high demand density areas like train stations, airports, etc. Using picocells to cover areas like Manhatten is possible, but may not be efficient.

Perhaps cities could put picocells at intersections instead of red light cameras to raise additional revenues?

Or maybe someone could create a smart bulb for street] lights that would double as a picocell.


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