Rivada sets sights on commercial market for its spectrum arbitrage platform

Rivada Networks, an Irish vendor that has been pushing its dynamic spectrum arbitrage (DSA) technology for use by public-safety agencies, said a new U.S. patent for its bandwidth trading platform will enable the company to expand its offering to commercial entities as well.

"For the first time, a technology exists that will allow for wireless broadband spectrum to be traded like any other commodity--bought and sold in real time," said Rivada CEO Declan Ganley.

Rivada contends its technology enables the commoditization of bandwidth, which can be traded in real time among companies to alleviate the spectrum crunch.  

"The ability to buy or sell excess capacity in a given frequency will be an essential tool for radio spectrum owners, suppliers, and network operators. That we have developed the tools to make that market a practical reality is therefore a significant step for us here at Rivada," Ganley said.

Until now, the company had been pushing its technology primarily for use by public-safety agencies and officials. The company contends that U.S. public-safety broadband networks--think the First Responders Network Authority (FirstNet)--should be able to sell excess capacity in order to raise revenues and become self-sustaining.

"This led us to develop a dynamic tiered priority access (TPA) model that would allow public safety to lease out its excess spectrum, but retain instantaneous control over the network, allowing themselves absolute priority access," said Rivada Networks CTO Clint Smith.

Put another way, although DSA could be used to allow the sharing of public-safety spectrum with commercial interests, TPA would ensure that public-safety agencies could essentially boot commercial traffic off of any frequencies on the network if first responders need them.

FirstNet General Manager Bill D'Agostino has said that the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) will turn to options such as spectrum arbitrage in its business model but will also look for other answers to make the cash-strapped effort viable. Congress has only allocated $7 billion to the effort, which is expected to cost billions more to launch and sustain.

Smith said that once the concept of a public-safety arbitrage model came into existence, "it seemed to us logical to extend it and make it operable for commercial networks, spanning the entire wireless range."

The commoditization of spectrum will "hugely improve its efficiency and utilization by allowing the market to allocate lower prices for the least-used blocks of bandwidth," Ganley said.

For more:
- see this Rivada release
- see this CNBC article
- see this Urgent Communications article

Related articles:
T-Mobile predicts auctions before 600 MHz auction to raise up to $16.4B, funding FirstNet
FirstNet releases RFI on apps, kills BTOP negotiations
FirstNet: How many good ideas are too many?
Deloitte: FirstNet and the public-private model
Public-safety-commercial partnerships already in the works

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