Silicon Flatirons: Future of spectrum in space requires cooperation

BOULDER — “There is enough spectrum for everybody if we all get along,” Space Exploration Technologies Corp. director of satellite policy David Goldman said.

It’s the getting along part that’s tricky.

That’s why Goldman and others in the aerospace industry joined with government officials and academics Thursday for a panel discussion on the first day of the Silicon Flatirons Frontiers in Spectrum Sharing conference. 

Silicon Flatirons is a Boulder-based group that fosters conversations among entrepreneurs, legal professionals, students and lawmakers.

The two-day conference this week in Boulder brings together aerospace industry representatives, government officials and academics to discuss opportunities for airwave and wireless communications spectrum sharing as economies across the globe continuously deploy new broadband and 5G technologies.

Part of the difficulty in ensuring that all stakeholders get along is that there are “players with different postures” and “no central arbiter” to adjudicate disputes, National Science Foundation senior advisor Ashley VanderLey said. 

“Technology is developing faster than regulation,” said Peter Tenhula, a retired member of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Regulations sometimes create a situation that rewards inefficiency, panelists said. For example, if a satellite user is the first to start using a piece of spectrum, the best course of action may be to complain to regulators if a new user enters the scene and causes interference on the spectrum rather than find a way to share the bandwidth efficiently.

“If there is a lot more commercial development for space exploration we will have to find new spectrums,” said Alexandre Vallet, chief of the International Telecommunication Union’s radio communications bureau. That’s a costly endeavor.

“You need to have policies that drive operators to want to invest in getting along,” Goldman said. 

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BOULDER — “There is enough spectrum for everybody if we all get along,” Space Exploration Technologies Corp. director of satellite policy David Goldman said.

It’s the getting along part that’s tricky.

That’s why Goldman and others in the aerospace industry joined with government officials and academics Thursday for a panel discussion on the first day of the Silicon Flatirons Frontiers in Spectrum Sharing conference. 

Silicon Flatirons is a Boulder-based group that fosters conversations among entrepreneurs, legal professionals, students and lawmakers.

The two-day conference this week in Boulder brings together aerospace industry representatives, government officials and academics to discuss opportunities for airwave and wireless communications spectrum sharing as economies across the globe continuously deploy new broadband and 5G technologies.

Part of the difficulty in ensuring that all stakeholders get along is that there are “players with different postures” and “no central arbiter” to adjudicate disputes, National Science Foundation senior advisor Ashley VanderLey said. 

“Technology is developing faster than regulation,” said Peter Tenhula, a retired member of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Regulations sometimes create a situation that rewards inefficiency, panelists said. For example, if a satellite user is the first to start using a piece of spectrum, the best course of action may be to complain to regulators if a new user enters the scene and causes interference on the spectrum rather than find a way to share the bandwidth efficiently.

“If there is a lot more commercial development for space exploration we will have to find new spectrums,” said Alexandre Vallet, chief of the International Telecommunication Union’s…