John LeibovitzGigahertz frequencies support gigabit and ten gigabit wireless. The U.S. FCC, led by John Leibovitz, is following the progress very closely. They've just issued the Spectrum Frontiers NOI. They are asking many of the right questions here and it's the job of our community to give them some answers. I've had a chance to discuss these issues with the FCC people involved. They've obviously done a great deal of research. The FCC is reaching out out to several of the leading experts for ideas. I believe they intend to get this right. 

    A NOI (Notice of Inquiry) does not propose action. Instead, NOI's collect information that will inform them as they make proposals. The conflicting claims about spectrum are hard to reconcile even with proven technology. Good information about what's practical in high frequency is just being discovered, making it even harder to reach a decision. The payoffs are potentially so large that many countries are moving ahead very quickly. Japan and Korea intend to deploy 5G in 2018 even though nothing is out of the labs yet.

    The European Union and Korea have both dedicated $1B for research in this area; the U.S. has only scattered funding. Despite that, much of the most important work is being done here, by people like Andrea Goldsmith of Stanford, Robert Heath of Texas & Ted Rappaport of NYU.

     The FCC can't deliver much money but they can set the rules in a way that moves things forward. In addition, effective government leaders can use the power to convene to good effect. Megan Smith, the new CTO of the United States, will do that very effectively, Vint Cerf tells me. 

     It's remarkably easy to file comments; anyone who doesn't know how should ask me. It's also surprisingly easy to meet directly with the people making a decision. If you show you bring experience and ideas to the discussion, they actually want to meet you. Most of the FCC is sick and tired of the usual silver tongues the companies send in to persuade them. Technical people actually are much more welcome and you absolutely do not need to waste money on a lawyer to get an FCC meeting.

Let's help them out. 

Here's the beginning of the NOI. The 30 page original is very dry and loaded with jargon, but they are asking many of the right questions. 


1. In this Notice of Inquiry, we begin a proceeding to examine the potential for the provision
of mobile radio services in bands above 24 GHz. As technologies continue to evolve, innovators are
working to tap into the potential of using high-band spectrum for mobile services. In particular, industry
and technical groups are beginning to examine the use of higher frequencies sometimes known as
millimeter wave (mmW) bands for mobile use.1 This examination of the possible uses of the mmW bands
for mobile use takes place within the context of broader efforts to develop technical standards for socalled
Fifth Generation (5G) mobile services. In view of the technological and marketplace developments
outlined in this item, we seek to discern what frequency bands above 24 GHz would be most suitable for
mobile services, and to begin developing a record on mobile service rules and a licensing framework for
mobile services in those bands.
2. This Notice of Inquiry builds on work done by the Commission’s Technological Advisory
Council (TAC) and fulfills a TAC recommendation. This proceeding is not a substitute for our efforts to
make additional lower frequency spectrum available for mobile services, but rather is a supplement to
those efforts. As innovation and development focuses on using higher bands to help support mobile
broadband, we aim to help foster a regulatory environment that is responsive to these technological
changes. We also seek to advance our understanding of the means by which mobile services can avoid
interfering with each other and with incumbent services and users that may share the same frequency
bands as well as the impact on adjacent band radio services. We expect our inquiries in this proceeding to
lay the foundation for more detailed proposals to be developed in subsequent rulemaking proceedings.
3. The Commission has a longstanding practice of adopting flexible service rules for mobile
wireless services, and has generally eschewed mandating the use of specific technologies or standards,
preferring instead to let innovation and market competition drive the direction of technological
development, and to put in place regulations that can accommodate future technological advances. We do
not anticipate deviating from these principles as we examine the suitability of bands above 24 GHz for
mobile services. While our inquiry is informed by the work of many different stakeholders to develop and
define the next generation of mobile wireless services and technologies, in this proceeding we are not
attempting to define, standardize, or specify the characteristics of 5G service. Nor do we anticipate
ultimately adopting rules that will incorporate a specific 5G standard. Our use of the term “5G” in this
item, therefore, is intended as a convenient shorthand rather than a circumscription.

4. Today, mobile broadband networks generally use spectrum bands below 3 GHz,
primarily due to the favorable propagation characteristics of that spectrum and the ready availability of
components.2 Over time, as technology has advanced, operators have used progressively higher
frequencies for mobile wireless use. The first band used for mobile wireless use was 845-890 MHz (the
Cellular Radiotelephone Service).3 Today, the Personal Communications Service and Advanced Wireless 

Services bands, which are generally in the 1.7-2.1 GHz range, are used extensively for mobile wireless
service.4 The Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadband Service in the 2496-2690 MHz band
have been used more recently for mobile broadband service.5 Recently, we sought comment on a detailed
proposal for establishing a new Citizens Broadband Radio Service in the 3550-3650 MHz band that could
leverage new methods of spectrum sharing and promote a diverse array of network technologies, with a
focus on relatively low-powered applications.6

5. Until recently, the prevailing assumption was that mobile service in higher frequency
bands, such as bands above 24 GHz, was infeasible because radio waves at those frequencies travel in
straight lines and could provide only line-of-sight service. Also, the propagation and atmospheric
absorption characteristics of higher frequency bands significantly reduce the coverage of individual base
stations and require a very expensive network to achieve a reasonable extent of aggregate coverage. As
discussed further below, however, some of the leading wireless equipment manufacturers are now
developing ways to provide non-line-of-sight services in higher frequency bands with increased range.7
The National Science Foundation has also funded basic research in 5G, including making mmW
propagation measurements.8 In addition, in 2014 the National Institutes of Science and Technology
created a new Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL) that will, among other things, “promote
interdisciplinary research, development and testing in areas related to advanced communications such as
radio frequency technology, digital information processing, cybersecurity, interoperability and
usability.”9 The CTL is also a joint partner with NTIA in the Center for Advanced Communications
(CAC), which will “provide opportunities for collaborate R&D and access to test-bed resources.”10

6. As they have developed, mobile wireless communications technologies have progressed
through several “generations,” each of which has advanced the nature of mobile wireless services. The
first generation of wireless technical standards, or 1G, originated in the 1980s and was based on analog
technology. The first digital wireless systems were known as 2G technologies. While there are a variety
of different definitions used for 3G and 4G wireless technologies, the International Telecommunications
Union (ITU) adopted standards that are often cited as definitions of 3G (IMT-2000) and 4G (IMTAdvanced)

7. During the past year, significant momentum has started to build around the idea of a
“Fifth Generation” that will substantially exceed the capacity of existing mobile technologies.12 There is
as yet no consensus definition of 5G, but some believe it should accommodate an eventual 1000-fold
increase in traffic demand,13 supporting high-bandwidth content with speeds in excess of 10 gigabits per
second (Gb/s); end-to-end transmission delays (latency) of less than one-thousandth of a second; and, in
the same networks, sporadic, low-data-rate transmissions among an “Internet of things”14 ? all of this to
be accomplished with substantially improved spectral and energy efficiency.15 Achieving these objectives
will likely require the development of new system architectures to include heterogeneous networks that
will deliver service through multiple, widely-spaced frequency bands and diverse types of radio access
technologies, including macrocells, microcells, device-to-device communications, new component
technologies, and unlicensed as well as licensed transceivers.16 In this context, bands above 24 GHz are
typically considered not for stand-alone mobile services but as supplementary channels to deliver ultrahigh
data rates in specific places, as one component of service packages that will likely include continued
use of lower bands to ensure ubiquitous coverage and continuous system-wide coordination.17

8. In connection with these developments, standards bodies and industry groups are working
to complete the preparation of 5G technical standards in 2016-2018, with initial deployment of services
using these technologies expected around 2020.18 The International Telecommunication Union
Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), through its Working Party 5D, has begun a detailed investigation
of the key elements of 5G.19

9. Organizations representing diverse countries and regions have already launched programs
oriented toward research and development of so-called 5G services. The European Telecommunications
Standards Institute (ETSI) is providing a framework for two initiatives, 5GNOW and METIS (Mobile and
Wireless Communications Enablers for the Twenty-Twenty Information Society) to study new
waveforms and technical capabilities to meet traffic requirements in 2020; the 5G Research Center in the
United Kingdom is developing a test bed for 5G technologies, and China’s IMT-2020 Forum is studying
user demands, spectrum characteristics, and technology trends that will underpin 5G developments.20


The world needs a good news source on Internet and telecom policy. I hope to create one. Catch a mistake? Email me please.  Dave Burstein


Professor Noam's "Many Internets"

Until about 2010, everyone agreed the Net was a "network of networks," not a monolithic entity. There was a central authority, ICANN, keeping track of domain names, but that was a minor administrative function.
Columbia Professor Noam suggests we might be better off accepting that some nations or groups might want to organize their networks differently. It's easy to see demand for an Internet with much more effective filters against material some think harmful to children. (Any 10 year old can easily find porn today. Many do.)
Internet translation is getting better very quickly. You might want an "Internet" that translates everything into your language. Google Chrome translation isn't perfect but I was able to research most of this story on Russian language sites. With a few more years progress, I might welcome an alternate that brings me everything in English, including caching for better performance.
De facto, Internet news is already split, as hundreds of millions only get their news from Facebook. Google AMP pages, including for news, also favor selected parts of the net
Centralizing the DNS doesn't prevent censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. There are many Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists who want to block what they consider blasphemy and limit free speech. See . More from Noam

Russia Orders Alternate Root Internet System
It's actually practical and not necessarily a problem.The Security Council of the Russian Federation, headed by Vladimir Putin, has ordered the "government to develop an independent internet infrastructure for BRICS nations, which would continue to work in the event of global internet malfunctions ... This system would be used by countries of the BRICS bloc – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa." RT
Columbia University Professor Eli Noam and then ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé have both said such a system is perfectly practical as long as there is robust interconnection.
Actually, the battle over ICANN and domain names is essentially symbolic. Managing the DNS is a relatively insignificant task, more clerical than governing. ICANN Chair Steve Crocker pointed out they had very little to do with policy.
Some will claim this is about blocking free speech but that's rhetoric. Russia doesn't need to fiddle with the DNS for censorship, as the Chinese have demonstrated. The wonders of the Internet will continue so long as the resulting nets" are robustly connected. The ICANN and U.S. policy goal should be to help create that system for interconnection.
I expect contentions that “The Russians are taking over our Internet” and “They are splitting the Internet.” The Internet is a “Network of Networks.” It is not a monolith so what would “splitting” it mean or do?
After the WCIT, China realized that ICANN and the DNS are side issues not worth bothering about. They have been building alternate institutions including the World Internet Summit in Wuzhan and the BRICs conferences.  The Chinese have put their main work where decisions that matter are made. Wireless standards are set by 3GPP, where nothing can be approved without China's consent.
The American battle at ITU is proving to be a historic mistake.
Why does Russia want an independent Internet?
They fear that Western sanctions on Russia could cripple the Russian Net. Communications minister, Nikolay Nikiforov, worries about, "a scenario where our esteemed partners would suddenly decide to disconnect us from the internet." I think that's highly unlikely but Nikiforov points out, “Recently, Russia is being addressed in a language of unilateral sanctions: first, our credit cards are being cut off; then the European Parliament says that they’ll disconnect us from SWIFT."
It makes sense for the Russians to be prepared for such a contingency as the Cold War has been warming up on both sides. "Britain's top military chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach just made headlines warning Russian subs "could CRIPPLE Britain by cutting undefended undersea internet cables." Much more

ICANN Continues Excluding Russia & China From the Board
No wonder Russia wants an alternate root. Three years ago, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé promised "a seat at the table" to Chinese Premier Li. ICANN welched and this year added two more Americans.
Almost all the ICANN board is from the U.S. and close allies; only about 4 of the 18 board members are from countries on the other side of the North/South divide in Internet policy.  Claiming ICANN represents the Global Internet is inappropriate. China is 1/3rd of the Internet but has no representation on the board.
I know many of the board members. They are all basically honorable but generally share a strong opinion on North-South issues.
Larry Strickling of the U.S. government knew just what he was doing with the IANA transition. He handed over to a board with similar positions as the U.S. government.
"The system is unsustainable while it excludes half the world," I have been saying since 2012. More, including the transcript of Fadi's statements,

Sorry, Ajit Pai: Smaller Telcos Did Not Reduce Investment After NN Ruling
Pai justifies his NN choice with the claim, "The impact has been particularly serious for smaller Internet service providers." #wrong (Actually, NN has minimal effects on investment, up or down, I’m convinced. Competition, new technology, customer demand and similar are far more important.)
The two largest suppliers to “smaller ISPs” saw sales go up. Adtran's sales the most recent nine months were $540M, up from $473M the year before. 2016 was $636M, 2015 $600M. Calix the last nine months sold $372M, up from $327M. The full year 2016 was $459M, up from $407M in 2015. Clearfield, a supplier of fiber optic gear, was up 8% in sales in the smaller ISPs.
There is nothing in the data from others that suggests an alternate trend. Anyone could have found this data in a few minutes from the company quarterly reports.
The results in larger companies are ambiguous. I can "prove" capex went up or went down by selecting the right data. The four largest companies' capex - two/thirds of the total - went up from $52.7B in 2015 to $55.7B in 2016. The result remains positive after making sensible adjustments for mergers and acquisitions. That's as close to "proving" that NN led to increased spending as the facts chosen to prove the opposite.
Actually, whether capex went up or down in 2016 tells us almost nothing about the choice on neutrality. Everyone knows a single datapoint could be random or due to other causes. Much more, including the source of the errors

Elders Bearing Witness: Vint, Timbl, & Many More
Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak and more than a dozen true Internet pioneers wrote Congress to protect Neutrality. The best Congress money can buy didn't listen but I wanted to reproduce their letter.
I hope they are wrong believing "is an imminent threat to the Internet we worked so hard to create." My take is the impact will be moderate in the short run.
From the letter:
We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. ... The FCC’s proposed Order is based on a flawed and factually inaccurate understanding of Internet technology. These flaws and inaccuracies were documented in detail in a 43-page-long joint comment signed by over 200 of the most prominent Internet pioneers and engineers and submitted to the FCC on July 17, 2017.
Despite this comment, the FCC did not correct its misunderstandings, but instead premised the proposed Order on the very technical flaws the comment explained. The technically-incorrect proposed Order ... More, including the full list,