Telecom Council White Space Communications Panel

I will be moderating an Entrepreneur’s Forum on “Finding Opportunities in White Spaces”, hosted by the Silicon Valley Telecom Council at Openwave, on May 5 from noon to 2pm. Details are available at the Telecom Council’s website. Speakers from Google and CSR are confirmed. Summary from the SVTC’s website is provided below.

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Spectrum is an incredibly valuable asset, and any technology that allows greater use of it can create value for customers and inventors alike. The Wi-Fi industry is a massive industry built on top of a tiny slice of spectrum, discarded by early radio scientists because it resonates with water. Can we pull another such rabbit out of our hats? White spaces – the tiny buffer zones between allocated broadcast channels – are similar slices of spectrum.

White spaces were considered unusable, since radios could not operate there without causing interference in the neighboring channels, but that is so 20th century! Today, we have technology to modulate signals so that to the legacy devices, the new signal appears to just fall into the existing noise floor, where the modern receiver can distinguish and extract the signal.

And the topic of white spaces makes for lively discussions. Entrenched business cry loudly that new transmissions in white spaces between their channels might interfere with their signals, while they may be concerned that new entrants interfere with their business. Scientists are overly optimistic that this technology can work flawlessly, even though we’ve never seen a radio technology without flaws.

But politics aside, what are the business opportunities for White Spaces? Who will win the technology markets? What will it do to broadcast and cellular businesses? Will it be like the 700MHz auction, where the incumbents just extended the status quo, or like Wi-Fi where an entire industry sprang out of the ether? Our Entrepreneur forum will discuss just where the opportunities lie.

About the Entrepreneur Forum: Entrepreneurs from the Telecom Council’s Entrepreneur Forum gather quarterly to discuss the needs, technologies, trends, and policies that are affecting their businesses. Our Entrepreneur Forum meetings gather 25+ entrepreneurs to network, discuss, and learn about issues affecting them and their businesses.