Encirclement: Reaping and Sowing

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It's official; we are in for two years of noises off, and decades of repercussions. But let us begin by offering congrats to both John Whittingdale and Warren East. The former has been a remarkable presence as Chairman of the CMS Select Committee and has now migrated to its Minister.  The latter has been exceptional in his achievements at ARM and has now progressed to Rolls-Royce. But have both been handed poisoned chalices?

 

Shall John Whittingdale be able to shepherd both the BBC and OFCOM?

Shall Warren East be able to shepherd Rolls-Royce and through their industrial strength be able to protect ARM when the time comes? Or shall both companies become subject to takeover targets?

Obviously any answer to these questions depends on their respective leadership skills, the knowledge, and especially the know-how that they both have acquired in the course of their respective distinguished careers especially as they navigate the forthcoming Digital Single Market and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Funny how the DSM and TTIP are suddenly coming to prominence in the media now that the General Election is over is it not?

Spectrum Policy Developments in the US: LTE-U

Consider therefore also the following significant development from the FCC on the 5th May,  just prior to the UK election regarding Commissioner O'Reilly's statement on the Public Notice issued by the FCC seeking information on current trends in LTE-U and LAA technology which "walks a fine line between reasonable oversight and inappropriate interference with the standards setting process.  The decision to jump into this space rather casually causes me great concern.  In particular, any step that could insert the Commission into the standards work for LTE-U comes with great risk.  I will be vigilant in ensuring that the Commission's involvement does not result in taking sides with various stakeholders, hindering technological innovation, or having any say about what technologies should or should not be deployed."

What is he on about? Consider the following two extracts from FCC ET Docket No. 15-105:

Parties within the wireless industry are developing a version of commercial wireless LTE technology called LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) that is intended for operations in certain unlicensed frequency bands.  LTE-U could operate in conjunction with licensed commercial wireless services using a technique called Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) whereby a channel in an operator's licensed spectrum is used as the primary channel for devices operating on an unlicensed basis.  By this Public Notice, the Office of Engineering and Technology and the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau seek information on these technologies and the techniques they will implement to share spectrum with existing unlicensed operations and technologies such as Wi-Fi that are widely used by the public.  

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which develops standards for commercial wireless technologies, is developing the LTE-U and LAA standards.  The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Working Group 802.11 (IEEE 802.11) develops standards for wireless local area networks such as Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies.  Although many parties participate in both standards bodies, the organizations have a limited historical working relationship given their different backgrounds and scopes.   We are aware that some companies have formed the LTE-U Forum, which is considering deployment of LTE-U/LAA using a "pre-standard" version of LTE-U/LAA"

A cursory perusal of the information the FCC is seeking indicates that they are about to bang heads together in order to achieve coexistence between the dominant incumbent Federal Spectrum users and the future sub-dominant interlopers (sorry!) private usage parties and I mean not just those interested in LTE-U. This step was inevitable and is long overdue. Is this not an example of the FCC transitioning from regulatory oversight to active participation?


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