The novel concept seemed to have worked out pretty well.
The vision of Rouzbeh and a relatively small group of other forward thinkers drove the technology enabling the cable industry to evolve from its video-only roots to its current status as the preeminent conduit for voice, video and data. He helped change the industry’s status from being something of an outsider to its current position as the dominant telecommunications player in the United States and, most probably, the world.
Rouzbeh has not gone off into that good night, however. His goal is to enfranchise the 4%-5% of Americans who still don’t have access to broadband. WiFi may play a role in creating this ubiquitous mesh, but the key tool for finishing the job that he helped start two decades ago is white space technology.
White space is the leveraging of very high quality spectrum that has been made available by the digitization and relocation of broadcast channels. It is very promising, but tremendously challenging. The conceputal problem is that some of the white space spectrum still is in general use and the incumbents have priority. Thus, a way must be found to determine what spectrum is available at a particular place and agilely steer white space traffic around it.
There also are the practical issues surrounding any new technology, such as the creation of a universe of integrated and affordable chipsets. Those are significant challenges. But the key is that white space is not a pipe dream. If it was, companies such as Microsoft and Google, as well as smaller and very smart entrepreneurial firms, wouldn’t be as interested as they are.
Rouzbeh is the principal of Yassini Capital Partners and works closely with the University of New Hampshire on the technology. We spoke last week. In our conversation, he references a white space database. The link is here.