Playing with the Digital Dividend

The German government has recently announced its intentions to reassign analog TV spectrum between 790 and 862 MHz, the so called digital dividend, for providing broadband wireless Internet to rural areas. With this intention it follows other EU member states and it looks like we’ll get another harmonized band in Europe pretty soon.

I was hoping this band is similar to the digital dividend band in the U.S., which was awarded to a number of operators some time ago. Unfortunately EU digital dividend band is about 100 MHz above the US 700 MHz band. Too bad, it would have been nice to have a common band, so a single device could have been manufactured and used in both parts of the world. It looks like we won’t see economies of scale and global roaming for this band either. And this would have been direly needed as the digital dividend band at least in Europe addresses mainly rural communities due to its propagation characteristics, a minority application in the global wireless game anyway.

The article announcing the re-assignment of the digital dividend band in Germany also contains a quote from an industry representative saying that if the German government goes ahead quickly, deployment of Internet access in this band could start in 2010. Hm, I wonder what kind of network they would use!? It’s unlikely it’s going to be either HSPA or LTE. For both, this frequency band is not yet standardized (see 3GPP TS 25.101 and 3GPP TS 36.101). A long way to go, I seriously doubt 2010 for those two systems.

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