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Spectrum Bridge Will Handle Radio Bandwidth Barter

Spectrum Bridge has launched a company and a web site to help those with excess or unused wireless spectrum to trade/barter it off to those who need it. The company claims to be the first such online site, and is developing tools that guide spectrum holders through the process of creating secondary spectrum offerings to what it believes is a large base of anxious users.

�There�s an ecosystem of players to make this happen,� said Rick Rotundo, chief marketing officer at Spectrum Bridge. �The FCC allows 5.5 GHz of spectrum to be tradable on a secondary market and additionally allows spectrum holders to disaggregate their spectrum on frequency, time and domains.�

That secondary market includes spectrum from about 200 MHz to 5 GHz and �at any give time and place about 80% to 96% goes unused,� Rotundo said.

While the carriers are generally viewed as the most prominent spectrum holders, others such as private non-profit institutions like the Catholic Church, universities and private equity funds, that purchased the spectrum on spec have air to barter.

On the receiving end, large enterprises like ports, airports, logging enterprises, petrochemical concerns and �even the big box stores that are having issues with Wi-Fi in their facilities� are looking for licensed bandwidth because the normal unlicensed bands don�t seem to be working.

Of course equipment manufacturers also have to be on board to make this all a reality. While an increasing number of products are built with frequency agility, getting the right equipment to run within certain licensed frequency ranges can still be a challenge, Rotundo admitted.

�The equipment manufacturers are going to have to look at that and figure it may be worthwhile to add that frequency to their WiMAX capabilities so they can sell into this mass market for licensed spectrum,� he said.

While no one really �owns� spectrum�it�s just being borrowed from the FCC for a price�those with licenses and limited needs can share it with those who have more specific needs. Bringing the two together, and then brokering the transaction is what Spectrum Bridge hopes to be all about.

�When a transaction happens, we have a software certificate that gets generated into these new WiMAX systems that automatically configures them to take advantage of the spectrum that was just transacted,� Rotundo said. �The end user doesn�t have to worry about how to set up the system.�

And the spectrum holder doesn�t have to worry about what the end user is doing with the spectrum, including going beyond the agreed-upon lease period. Spectrum Bridge will primarily earn its money as the middleman.

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