Tackling the spectrum question

South Africa, ostensibly, has a shortage of spectrum available to use for wireless communications. Brainstorm chats to Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow Steve Song about the alleged spectrum shortage.

01 April 2009

The lack of available spectrum is about to become a critical issue. The issuing of ECNS (Electronic Communications Network Service) licences to some 400 VANS providers means there are now, theoretically, 400 companies wanting to roll out networks. Naturally, only a handful of these will realistically be able to do so. Copper isn’t viable, so wireless is where it’s at. And we’re short of wireless spectrum, or so it appears.

Shuttleworth Foundation fellow Steve Song says the lack of available spectrum is an artificial scarcity. “If you look around the world at current thinking on spectrum, it highlights opportunities for change. A big change is that demand exceeds availability. When spectrum regulation was first thought up, there was far more spectrum than anyone imagined needing. This has changed now and technology has changed to make more efficient use of spectrum. Take mine dumps, for example. We could do nothing with them in the old days. Now they’re all being reprocessed due to new technology that can extract gold from them.”

ITWeb Premium

Get 3 months of unlimited access
No credit card. No obligation.

Already a subscriber Log in