Column: Making scarce spectrum deliver more
Therefore, there is a life-time opportunity knocking at the doors of spectrum managers to come out of the stigma of gross mismanagement of spectrum, leading to dropped calls and slow net connections, by bringing efficiency not only in the utilisation of spectrum but also in its allocation.
Unfortunately, charity has to begin at home, as the most inefficient usage of radio spectrum is prevalent in the strategic and state entities. Defence forces are still using spectrum through outdated technologies and also in a fraction of the geography in which they have been allocated spectrum. In the same way, state broadcasters are still embracing spectrum-guzzling analogue technologies, though there is a strong movement towards a ‘digital dividend’. Also, not many public sector utilities are known to be efficient users of spectrum.
In the developing nations, especially the US and those in Europe, there is a pragmatic political move towards ‘authorised shared access’ and ‘pooled spectrum’, wherein taking cognisance of interference-tolerant technological developments, the government is discussing the possibility of sharing strategic spectrum with the public operators, with a condition of first-right and zero-interference to defence usage. This is likely to work in 95% of the geography where defence forces have exclusive allocations but no operations. For the rest, public users will be allowed to use only if and when the spectrum is idling and without any interference to the
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