Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clearwire Keynote Among Program Highlights of WCAI Summer Summit on Day 1

The first day of the WCAI’s Summer Summit is coming to a close, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the attendance and the quality of panel discussions we had here today. Kicking off the afternoon part of the program was Gerry Salemme, Executive Vice President for Strategy, Policy and External Affairs at Clearwire.

“If there was one thing that surprised our business model was how voracious the appetite for data is when you have a device that delivers high speeds,” Salemme said during a fireside chat with WCAI President Fred Campbell. “Our average user uses 7GB per month... and we expect it to grow.” He stressed Clearwire’s commitment to keeping unlimited data plans. “We really think that it’s a differentiator in the market.”

Salemme said Clearwire is on track to launch 120 million POPs 4G coverage by the end of the year and expects to triple the number of subscribers it had at the end of 2009 before 2010 is over. He outlined Clearwire’s deployment plans, discussed how the company addresses financing issues, and spoke about the upcoming substantial service requirements and the FCC National Broadband Plan.

The Summit will continue tomorrow with special tours of Clearwire 4G lab and DigitalBridge Network Operations Center, followed by a member-only meeting of the WCAI’s Emerging Markets Committee. (Go here for details.)

See you tomorrow!

WCAI Summer Summit Kicks Off in DC

The WCAI’s Summer Summit kicked off today with a presentation on the National Broadband Plan by Phoebe Yang, General Counsel, Omnibus Broadband Initiative at the FCC. Ms. Yang addressed the packed room of industry representatives from across the U.S. and internationally who gathered in Herndon, VA this morning to hear about the innovation and opportunities presented by the plan.

Ahead is the day packed with informative panel discussions and networking opportunities. Among the topics that will be addressed are operational best practices and WiMAX migration paths toward 802.16m and TD-LTE. The day will wrap up with a networking happy hour and dinner at Jackson’s restaurant. So if you are in DC area, don’t wait, come join us for a productive day of networking and business development. More details are here:

Monday, June 28, 2010

WCAI Applauds Obama Administration’s Commitment to Auction Off 500 MHz of Federal and Commercial Spectrum

Today, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum to commit the Federal government to auction off 500 MHz of Federal and commercial spectrum over the next 10 years to meet the demand for mobile and fixed broadband. On behalf of the Wireless Broadband industry, I applaud the Obama Administration for recognizing the importance of wireless broadband for today’s global economy and for its commitment to significantly increase the amount of commercial spectrum. The initiative is a critical step toward achieving universal broadband connectivity through the only broadband platform that is capable of providing access everywhere, all the time. We look forward to working the Administration, FCC, NTIA, Congress and other stakeholders to help implement this important initiative.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WCAI Summer Summit: Learn, Network, Prosper!

The WCAI Summer Summit is less than two weeks away and we hope that you are just as excited as we are about all the perks that we filled the two-day program with. The event’s highlights include an FCC workshop on the National Broadband Plan, a keynote address by Clearwire Executive Vice President Gerry Salemme on what it takes to bring 4G to America, a presentation by Motorola Networks CTO Bill Payne on the WiMAX migration paths to 802.16m or TD-LTE, and a discussion of operator best practices for 4G networks. But that’s not all…

Did you ever want to take a peek at how industry leaders in the 4G marketplace run their operations? Well here is your opportunity! WCAI members Clearwire and DigitalBridge will be opening doors of their 4G lab and network operations center for Summit attendees to tour their facilities. Clearwire will also have a 4G-equipped vehicle onsite to demo its mobile network operation. The DigitalBridge tour will feature DBC’s network management systems, test WiMAX systems, and proprietary network optimization technology. Visitors will be able to see best practices in the following areas: WiMAX network operations and management, device interoperability, and network and subscriber optimization techniques.

There will also be plenty of opportunities for social networking, especially during the reception and dinner at the end of the first day of the event.

And the best part is that the Summit registration is absolutely FREE for WCAI members who register by June 25. After that, the rate goes up to $79. Non-members are also welcome at the event for $79.

The Summit will be held on June 30-July 1 at the NRTC Headquarters, 2121 Cooperative Way, Herndon, VA. See you next week!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dr. Rawat of Industry Canada to Run for Senior ITU Position

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will be holding a Plenipotentiary Conference this October in Guadalajara, Mexico to elect the senior management team of the organization for the next four years. Among candidates for the position of Director, Radiocommunication Bureau is Dr. Veena Rawat, President of the Communications Research Center of Industry Canada.

One of the key functions of the Radiocommunication Bureau is to develop and implement, through established processes with member states, regulations, standards and coordination procedures for the global management of radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. The term for Director of the Bureau will begin the following January at the ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

One of Dr. Rawat’s objectives is to ensure that the Bureau is relevant to all stakeholders and addresses the priorities established by the sector in a timely, effective and efficient fashion. As near term priorities, she has identified the issues of necessary improvements to the current satellite coordination process, security of wireless networks, and communications for emergency and disaster efforts. She believes these goals can be achieved through extensive consultation and working closely with stakeholders. In her opinion, some of the important issues to be addressed in the global management of radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources are the rapid development of new technologies, the convergence of radio services and delivery platforms, and the exponential growth of wireless-enabled applications. She believes that collaboration with other ITU Sectors will enable a favorable environment to address emerging technologies such as Smart Grid and Green ICT. The extensive knowledge generated and shared within the ITU will help build the skill set and capacity needed to face the challenges of tomorrow.

“We must find and implement new ways to maximize the use of the finite spectrum and orbital resources if we are to continue promoting global telecom development, and achieve the United Nations 2015 target date for connecting all villages, towns and cities, universities and schools in the world,” said Dr. Rawat. “Among other initiatives, a strong effort is needed to further develop and implement integrated, computerized tools that will speed up the coordination of radio systems, and make them available to ITU members. This will result in effective, efficient and mutually beneficial cooperation among countries, and greater participation in ITU processes.”

Dr. Rawat, an internationally recognized expert in spectrum management and emerging technologies, has 34 years of senior management experience at Industry Canada. Her negotiation and leadership skills were put to the test in 2003 when, as the first female chair of a WRC conference, she deftly balanced the conflicting interests of 2500 delegates from 190 countries, working within a breakneck timeframe of just four weeks. At the outset, she asked delegates to keep three things in mind: “cooperation, consensus and conservation of time and energy.” Her advice and subsequent hard work paid off. Not only did Dr. Rawat meet the tight deadlines – a task one delegate described as “mission impossible” – she was also able to negotiate consensus on a complex agenda without the need for a single formal vote and was awarded an ITU Gold Medal for her efforts. WRC-03 ended with several landmark decisions to manage the increasing pressure on the radio-frequency spectrum – a limited global resource.

Dr. Rawat is an adept negotiator: she has led Canadian delegates to over 100 CITEL and ITU-R meetings and chaired numerous technical committees and working groups for the ITU-R and WRCs, providing recommendations for treaty-binding decisions to the plenary on major spectrum issues affecting billions of dollars of industry investment. Currently, Dr. Rawat is chairman of the ITU study group responsible for satellite services (Study Group 4 – Satellite Services).

“Through her work Dr. Rawat has developed a unique understanding of the importance that innovation plays in the global economy and, in particular, of the necessity of sharing best practices and knowledge in support of capacity building worldwide,” Minister of Industry Tony Clement said in his written endorsement of Dr. Rawat’s candidacy on behalf of the Government of Canada. “Dr. Rawat also brings a vast experience in the international management of radio-frequencies and satellite orbits. Her excellent track record, both at home and internationally, speaks for itself.”

Monday, June 7, 2010

Importance of 3.65 GHz Frequency Band for Smart Grid Market

By Ashish Sharma, VP, Corporate Communications, Alvarion Ltd.

As the utilities look to build their future smart grid networks, it is imperative that they consider solutions that are reliable, secure, scalable and easy to integrate with the flexibility of addressing multiple types of services for efficient operations. WiMAX technology allows utilities to wirelessly create a future proof broadband communications infrastructure that can bring great efficiencies to a traditionally fragmented energy distribution system. Based on an all-IP architecture with a robust OFDMA radio interface, WiMAX technology supports multiple types of applications on a unified platform.

Access to the right frequencies plays a major role in building secure wireless networks. The quasi-licensed 3.65 GHz band in the U.S. provides a good alternative for utilities to build their own private WiMAX networks for smart grid communications. With the exception of a few places in the country, this frequency remains largely unused and has the potential to provide a good footprint. FCC adopted a structured entry approach by employing a non-exclusive licensing scheme for this band. This approach has allowed the licensees low entry costs, avoiding long regulatory delays.

There are two challenges that need to be taken in account when deploying a 3.65GHz solution:

  • Exclusion zones, where 3.65GHz is not allowed due to earth stations
  • Migration path to a licensed 2.3/2.5 GHz WiMAX frequency if desired at some point in the future

Alvarion-optimized smart grid connectivity solutions addresses both challenges:

  • A WiMAX 802.16e solution in license exempt (5.4/5.8 GHz) frequency, overcoming the limitation of the exclusion zones
  • A unified solution that addresses both 3.65GHz and 2.3/2.5GHz frequencies that allows expanding a 3.65 GHz fequency network into a licensed 2.3/2.5 GHz fequency network using the same product

Alvarion offers the latest 802.16e WiMAX solutions for this frequency band in a variety of configurations including an all outdoor base station that provides cost effective rollout over large distances. Alvarion’s experience in designing all-IP wireless broadband networks will bring much-needed expertise to utilities striving to integrate managed energy utilization, lower greenhouse gas emissions and innovative on-the-go applications.

Alvarion’s open WiMAX network architecture based on end-to-end all-IP solution allows for great flexibility to integrate other smart grid solutions such as meters, distribution automation devices, collectors, etc. The network built on this architecture has the ability to enable other applications such as mobile workforce, video surveillance, home area network and communications for substation automation. Alvarion’s solution provides a holistic 4G infrastructure that provides the real-time, QoS, broadband and mobility requirements for current and future smart grid applications. These solutions are available in both licensed and license-exempt frequencies with high link reliability and availability.

Though getting access to private spectrum remains the best choice for utilities, the 3.65 GHz frequency band allows for a good near term option that can help them build an IP-based WiMAX network with a relatively lower cost when compared to other technologies that exist in the market today.