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March 7, 2005

Irish Policy Group Pushes for Unlicensed Spectrum

By Nancy Gohring

Scagaire, an Irish Policy Research Group, submitted comments to a request for comments from ComReg, the regulatory body in Ireland: Among other issues, the response encourages ComReg to pursue any policy that allows for the availability of community, non-profit, non-commercial wireless services. The document also notes a line from the European Convention on Human Rights which restricts the rights of governments to limit the ability of people to send and receive information. That line is beginning to be used as an argument for only issuing licenses as an exception, not the rule. This is the same human rights argument put forth by the newly formed Open Spectrum UK group in its comments to OfCom, the UK regulatory body.

The group also proposes a number of standards that should be set for hardware and software operating in unlicensed frequencies as a way to encourage “good neighbor” policies. The proposals aim to cut down on unnecessary use of spectrum and interference.

The response has another interesting line in its comments. It says that ComReg ought to ensure that end users have the right to share or resell their Internet access through wireless networks. This could become an interesting point and it’s one that I haven’t heard much talk of in Europe. In the U.S., many ISPs, usually those affiliated with the big telcos or cable operators, have expressly forbid customers from even giving Internet access to their neighbors via Wi-Fi. Others, such as Speakeasy, have actually offered to help customers resell the service to their neighbors. It appears that Scagaire is hoping that ComReg might create rules in advance of operators in Ireland trying to limit their customers’ use of their broadband connections. [link via Sascha]

Posted by nancyg at March 7, 2005 3:27 PM

Categories: spectrum

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