Open Access

Examining the Viability of Broadband Wireless Access under Alternative Licensing Models in the TV Broadcast Bands

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20082008:470571

Received: 5 June 2007

Accepted: 25 January 2008

Published: 20 May 2008


One application of cognitive radios is to provide broadband wireless access (BWA) in the licensed TV bands on a secondary access basis. This concept is examined to see under what conditions BWA could be viable. Rural areas require long range communication which requires spectrum to be available over large areas in order to be used by cognitive radios. Urban areas have less available spectrum at any range. Furthermore, it is not clear what regulatory model would best support BWA. This paper considers demographic (urban, rural) and licensing (unlicensed, nonexclusive licensed, exclusive licensed) dimensions. A general BWA efficiency and economic analysis tool is developed and then example parameters corresponding to each of these regimes are derived. The results indicate that an unlicensed model is viable; however, in urban areas spectrum needs can be met with existing unlicensed spectrum and cognitive radios have no role. In the densest urban areas, the licensed models are not viable. This is not simple because there is less unused spectrum in urban areas. Urban area cognitive radios are constrained to short ranges and many broadband alternatives already exist. As a result the cost per subscriber is prohibitively high. These results provide input to spectrum policy issues.


Urban AreaCognitive RadioRange CommunicationArea SpectrumAccess Basis

Publisher note

To access the full article, please see PDF

Authors’ Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA


© T. X. Brown and D. C. Sicker. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.