NCTA Defends Call for 'True' LTE-U Collaboration

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association fired back at Qualcomm Wednesday over the impact of new LTE-U and LAA wireless spectrum plans and their impact on cable Wi-Fi.

Qualcomm had branded NCTA assertions false and misleading, which did not sit well with the cable trade group.

NCTA wants the FCC to open a new docket on the implications of allowing mobile operators to employ "non-standard" LTE unlicensed (LTE-U) technologies including LAA [license assisted access] to operate in unlicensed spectrum, which the cable trade group argues could degrade Wi-Fi service, cable operators' primary mobile broadband play.

Qualcomm, which is promoting the technologies, has said LTE-U, including with an assist from licensed spectrum (LAA), can share spectrum without interfering with cable Wi-Fi. It also told the FCC in a letter that any suggestion by NCTA or others, which include Microsoft Google and Cisco, that Qualcomm has not been working with the wireless industry directly and via industry bodies to "ensure that LTE Unlicensed coexists well with Wi-Fi," is not true, as, it says, are a number of other NCTA et al assertions.

NCAT begs to differ. In a letter to the FCC in response to Qualcomm's letter, it said that in that company's "through-the-looking-glass world, PowerPoint presentations and unilateral pronouncements amount to collaboration, and sharing mechanisms that can be unilaterally scaled back or turned off constitute a fair and equitable approach."

NCTA has said it believes sharing is possible and that LTE can operate in unlicensed bands, but that that will take a truly collaborative process, a point it reiterated this week.  "This process will require Qualcomm and others to recognize the shortsightedness of their ongoing efforts to downplay the serious concerns of consumers and the unlicensed community, and to recognize that the so-called “sharing solutions” suggested to date are incomplete and insufficient."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.