As often is the case, spectrum policy is a contentious issue. It presently is a hot issue in the U.K. mobile market. As always is the case, weaker providers want restrictions on stronger providers
Longer term, scarcity is going to be less an issue, and abundance the more-likely context, as crazy as that will seem to veterans of the mobile, satellite and Wi-Fi industries.
New developments such as spectrum sharing and release of millimeter waves for communications purposes are going to change the business context–and probably the business case–for untethered, fixed wireless and mobile wireless access
At the same time, lower-cost platforms are under development by new and existing suppliers.
The broad implication is that spectrum as a “hot issue” might become almost a “not issue” in the future.
Facebook’s efforts to help extend Internet access “to everyone” now are taking several different and complementary paths. Internet.org is working on app packaging. Its regulatory teams are working to support release of more unlicensed and shared spectrum.
Its Aquila unmanned aerial vehicle program is working on backhaul. Its Teragraph development effort seeks to enable lower-cost access networks in rural areas. Its Terragraph 60-GHz wireless mesh network is designed to enable lower-cost Internet access in dense, urban areas. That has lead to Facebook’s millimeter wave mesh network concept.
Project Aries is working on more spectrally efficient radio access capabilities, so any radio network can deliver more bits, in any given amount of bandwidth.
OpenCellular expects to create open source cellular network technology that can be used by any entity wanting to build a mobile or wireless access network.
The Telecom Infra Project is an effort to create lower-cost, more-efficient telecom access networks, and is modeled on what Facebook did with its open data center efforts.
All of that effort, as well as Google’s efforts, suggest a coming new world where access platforms and networks are created and perhaps operated by any number of new providers, not traditional telecom access providers (cable and telco).
Google acts as an Internet service provider through Google Fiber; as a mobile operator through Google Fi; supplies the world-leading Android mobile operating system; has created its reference platform Nexus line of devices; is working on unmanned aerial vehicles and balloons for backhaul and access; has deployed Wi-Fi hotspot networks and has–many say–set the Internet agenda in the United States and Europe.