New DSA leader says 3.5 GHz shows dynamic use models ready for prime time

Kalpak Gude DSA
Kalpak Gude joined the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance as president last week.

The way the new president of the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) trade group sees it, the use of dynamic spectrum models is going to be part of the future of spectrum management any way you slice it. After all, they’re not making any new spectrum these days.

“We have to find better ways and more efficient ways to use the spectrum that we’ve got. The reality is the licensed model, although important and critical, can’t be the only model that is utilized. We have to find more efficient ways to squeeze more out of the spectrum that we have,” DSA President Kalpak Gude told FierceWirelessTech. “I think doing it more dynamically is going to have to be part of the solution.”

The DSA, whose members include some big names like Facebook, Google and Microsoft, was incorporated in the United Kingdom in 2013 with the aim of advocating for more efficient and effective spectrum utilization around the world—like with TV white spaces. With the appointment of Gude, which was announced last week, the alliance gains a leader with a deep background in telecom law and spectrum policy.

RELATED: Google touts Spectrum Access System for 3.5 GHz spectrum management

Gude started his career at the FCC around the time the Telecom Act of 1996 was passed. He also has extensive experience with some of the companies that are trying to solve the digital divide. His most recent stint was as VP of legal and regulatory at OneWeb, the Greg Wyler-led satellite initiative backed by Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs and Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson.

Similarly, DSA is trying to create opportunities to use spectrum that is currently under-used or going unused, and he’s encouraged by some of the moves the FCC in the U.S. already has taken.

“I think the FCC’s embracing of it in the 3.5 band is a confirmation that this technology is ready for prime time,” Gude said. Part of his organization’s task revolves around getting governments around the world to look at additional bands—similar to what the U.S. did with the 3.5 GHz band, which had been largely used for government radar but is being opened up to other uses.

RELATED: FCC puts final rules in place for spectrum sharing in 3.5 GHz band

It’s a little too early to comment on the spectrum priorities of the new administration, Gude said, but he added that he’d be surprised if creating more efficient use of spectrum were not at least part of the charter. Details about how the administration will go about it and establish priorities will emerge in the coming months.

Historically, the "sharing" in “spectrum sharing” was effectively a misnomer, he said, noting that it was displacing, in one way, shape or form, the incumbents for the benefit of newcomers.

“I think the great opportunity with dynamic spectrum access technologies is incumbents do not need to be encumbered, or limited,” he said. There’s an opportunity through data bases, sensors and other technologies to enable use of spectrum that is currently being under-utilized or un-utilized. “My goal and charter really is to push that forward.”

RELATED: CTIA wants to oversee spectrum sharing in the 3.5 GHz band

Reached on the third day of his new job, Gude said one of his first priorities will be to survey the situation and determine what needs to be prioritized. More broadly, he’ll be advocating for both more lightly licensed and unlicensed spectrum, although he acknowledged there’s a role for licensed spectrum.

One of Gude’s biggest tasks coming up will be leading the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance’s fifth annual Global Summit, which takes place May 9-11, 2017, in Cape Town, South Africa.

The DSA’s previous executive director, Professor H Nwana, will stick around as executive director emeritus, and the alliance will continue to leverage his expertise. Prior to joining the alliance as executive director, Nwana was group director of spectrum policy at Ofcom—the U.K.’s independent communications regulator—where he spearheaded dynamic spectrum management, specifically focusing on TV white spaces for broadband.