In Business Model, Internet Access, Spectrum

New markets often face adoption problems. There often is no reason for customers to buy because new products are hard to find, expensive to use and limited in functionality.

But suppliers often cannot justify making robust investments because there is very little demand. That might be the case for TV white spaces.

Regulators might want to authorize TV white spaces, but in the face of indifference or opposition from more established industries, might face an uphill battle.

To make matters worse, all elements for an ecosystem might be undeveloped.

Even if he appears to believe TV white spaces has a reasonable enough business case, Google Access Principal Alan Norman nevertheless says some certainty would be needed before many private sector entities would invest money to use the spectrum. One measure that might help, said Norman, is if Ofcom, for example, could guarantee some number of channels (8 MHz each) would be available for use.

The present problem is that it is unclear how much bandwidth might be made available in the U.K. market.

The other problem, candidly illustrated by Rachel Clark, Ofcom director of spectrum policy, is that “we have to tell people who want to use TV white spaces that we cannot guarantee you will have access every single day. That is a business model challenge.”


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