Over-the-air broadcasting is a more efficient way of delivering mobile video than wireless broadband “unicast” systems, says a study commissioned by NAB and MSTV. Along with wireless broadband, broadcasting is one of the “twin pillars of the digital economy,” it says.
TV broadcasting is one of the “twin pillars of the digital economy,” complementing wireless broadband service as a means for distributing of mobile video, according to a study commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters and the Association of Maximum Service Television.
What’s more, the 44-page study says, TV broadcasting is far more efficient at delivering mobile video.
“Experts project that mobile video will dominate traffic over mobile broadband networks in the coming years, with up to two-thirds of broadband usage growth forecast to be from video,” it says.
“Broadcasting is the most spectrally efficient way to meet this need,” it says. It can deliver “real-time video to a larger number of users in the same geographic areas and is superior to unicast solutions by orders of magnitude.”
Questions of spectrum efficiency and what broadcasting is capable of is at the heart of a FCC inquiry into whether it should reallocate some or all of broadcast spectrum for wireless broadband use.
The inquiry is part of a broader FCC effort to find ways of making broadband access faster, cheaper and more widely available. It has promised Congress policy recommendations next February — what it is calling a National Broadband Plan.
Broadcasters led by NAB and MSTV are dead set against giving up any of their spectrum.
The study the two trade groups commissioned, authored by electrical engineers James Krogmeier of and David Love, also argues that the FCC is looking the wrong way when it looks at broadcast spectrum to meet what it believes will be rapidly rising demand for and an eventual shortage of wireless broadband spectrum.
TV uses just a “small fraction” (5.18 percent) of the spectrum between 225 MHz and 3700 MHz and the medium has already given up 140 MHz through its DTV transition and ENG microwave transitions, the study says.
Meanwhile, it says, there is 750 MHz of non-broadcast spectrum in the 225-3700 MHz band currently available for licensed broadband use. “A substantial amount of [it]…is either currently unused or only beginning to be used by wireless operators.”
Policymakers need to obtain better estimates of the supply and demand for wireless broadband spectrum, the study says.
“Indeed, a comprehensive examination is needed of the full range of spectrum that can be used for advanced wireless applications including both licensed and unlicensed bands.”
The study also points out new technologies will increase the efficiency of wireless broadband and decrease its need for additional spectrum.
The FCC is focused on bands below 3700 MHz, the study also says. “However, a rapid trend demonstrates that technology advances make possible the effective use of higher and higher spectrum bands.
“A number of different bands, both licensed and unlicensed, should be investigated and considered for wireless broadband.”