Examining the Viability of Broadband Wireless Access under Alternative Licensing Models in the TV Broadcast Bands
© T. X. Brown and D. C. Sicker. 2008
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.
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