Oi! 'Hands off America's Wi-Fi spectrum' yells, er, the cable lobby

NCTA doesn't like LTE-U

America's cable broadband lobby has decided it doesn't like proposals for unlicensed LTE, claiming that LTE-U rollouts will interfere with citizens' WiFi kit.

LTE-U is a hot topic among spectrum-hungry mobile carriers, since it would let a base station look around, and if it spots radio quiet in (for example) 3 GHz or 5 GHz bands, grab it for their own use.

Hence the FCC's current inquiry into the LTE-U proposals.

The Qualcomm-sponsored proposal is supposed to be polite, though, only speaking if the kit's sure there's nobody using the spectrum. That's not good enough, says the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, because it's currently down to operators to promise that they'll use something like the “Listen Before you Talk” (LBT) protocol that T-Mobile's committed to.

In this blog post, the NCTA writes that “the current formulations of LTE-U do not require providers to build in adequate sharing protocols. Without them, these providers could allow licensed carriers to commandeer unlicensed spectrum in ways that significantly interfere with other technologies that currently use these bands”.

“The limited sharing features that LTE-U may include are inadequate and when real-world factors are taken into account, research shows these technologies cause serious interference”, the post adds.

The NCTA's filing with the FCC (PDF here) complains that the vendors supporting both LTE-U and Licensed Assisted Access have gone outside the IEEE standards process.

The group asks the FCC to kick-start the standardisation process, with the IEEE and 3GPP to coordinate and report back to the commission on their work developing “effective sharing”, and block the installation of LTE-U outside the standards process. ®

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