Feminist Talk @ AWID: Thinking about gender and technology

Istanbul, Turkey

I am sitting at AWID in Istanbul and digesting the first day, as well as the Feminist Tech Exchange which happened the day before. I am also getting used to the Turkish keyboard which is limiting my punctuation use.

Monitoring spectrum

Figure 6: Participants from Albania, Nepal, Malawi and Italy testing an antenna with the RF Explorer Spectrum Analyzer in Trieste, February 2012Figure 6: Participants from Albania, Nepal, Malawi and Italy testing an antenna with the RF Explorer Spectrum Analyzer in Trieste, February 2012

Monitoring spectrum requires expensive instruments with a steep learning curve.

TVWS and digital migration

There is an opportunity for stakeholders to lobby for the introduction of TVWS-based solutions while the issues of the digital transition are considered, to ensure that commercial interests do not prevail over the interests of society at large.

Activists should emphasize the need for transparency in the frequencies allocation process.

Unused spectrum

Figure 5: Region served with voice and data services by COTECAL, in Calafate and El Chalten, ArgentinaFigure 5: Region served with voice and data services by COTECAL, in Calafate and El Chalten, Argentina

Spectrum allocated to broadcast television is only partially used. In particular, in developing countries.

IEEE802.22

Stimulated by the impressive success of WiFi (due mostly to the use of unlicensed – or open spectrum), the IEEE created a working group to address the requirements of a Wireless Regional Area Network. The challenge was to develop a technology suitable for long distance transmission that could be deployed in different countries (each with quite different spectrum allocations).

Dynamic spectrum access

Although all available spectrum is currently allocated in developed countries, many independent studies have found that the total amount of spectrum in use at any one time in any one place is a tiny fraction of the total.

Digital dividend and TV white spaces

[img_assist|nid=14227|title=Figure 4|desc=An example of TV channels adjudication in two cities that are close enough in proximity such that transmissions from one can reach the other.

Broadcasting

As the number of tablets and smart phones grows, telecom operators vie for access to new frequency bands, but the traditional methods of adjudicating the spectrum are facing limitations.

Keep in mind that the spectrum is used for radio and television broadcasts, for satellite communications, for airplane traffic control, for geolocation (Global Positioning Systems – GPS), as well as for militar

Political issues

Figure 3: The “spectrum Police” at work in JakartaFigure 3: The “spectrum Police” at work in Jakarta

The importance of spectrum as a communications enabler cannot be overstated. Television and radio broadcasting have a strong influence in shaping public perceptions on any issue, and have been used overtly for political propaganda.

Beauty contests

The “beauty contest” method requires interested parties to submit proposals on how they intend to use the spectrum. A committee of the spectrum regulating agency then decides which of the proposals better serves public goals.

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