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Spectrum as a game of bluff and counter-bluff

by Toby Youell — last modified Mar 27, 2015 01:34 PM
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What's the ideal training for the spectrum world? Engineering, law, economics? Or maybe it's poker, if we read between the lines of a recent speech by Ofcom's spectrum chief.

Speaking at the launch of Tech UK's report on UK spectrum usage and demand, Philip Marnick described a situation in which all actors claim they have a growing demand for spectrum. Apparently, stakeholder “a” often claims that stakeholder “b” has secret technologies meaning they don't really need their assignments, but that “a” is using the minimum amount of spectrum possible for their needs. Compounding the problem, stakeholders up and down the alphabet often don't understand each other and work with very different time horizons.

“Everybody positions,” he said, “but how do we distill from that what [spectrum] is actually needed?” The report on spectrum usage and demand will be the first of several published by the UK Spectrum Policy Forum, which is led by Tech UK. The Forum has further plans to look at tricky issues like the social benefit of spectrum use, spectrum sharing, defence and amateur radio.

Marnick said he hoped the report would enable different stakeholders to understand each other's needs.

The European Commission last year completed a similar “spectrum inventory” which was a cornerstone of the EU's Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP). It is bound to be a much-cited document when the next RSPP is renewed over the coming years.

So if everybody at the spectrum policy poker table understands each other better, will they play more nicely? Now there's the question....

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