Dr. Darren WilkinsBy Dr. Darren Wilkins (DWilkins@SaharaTechnology.Com Tel: 0777129092 & 0886703789)When the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) issued a press release, suspending the licenses and authorizations of all media operators registered from January 1, 2018-June 18, 2018, the print, electronic and social media did not take too kindly to that decision. Many perceived this move by Government as a “clampdown” or “censorship” of the media. At the risk of sounding like a Government spokesperson, I do not think this is an attempt to strangulate or “clampdown” on the media. Perhaps the “timing” is what’s making folks nervous. But media and telecom operators use Radio Frequency spectrum or RF spectrum, which is managed, monitored and regulated by certain Government entities. These entities must be vigilant, conscientious, and dynamic in performing their tasks, especially when the demand for RF spectrum continues to rise, due to innovation and new technologies. With high demand and heavy use of the RF spectrum, “anomalies” become inevitable. Hence, the need to regularly review or revisit licensing regimes, as part of spectrum management to ensure that the spectrum is being properly used. Today, I have chosen to provide insight into RF spectrum management, strictly from an ICT perspective.RF spectrum is a scarce resource for any country including Liberia, and as such its usage must be properly managed, taking into account the natural phenomenon of its capabilities and constraints. RF spectrum is a key component of the telecommunications infrastructure that underpins the information society. Its importance cannot be overemphasized. It is a limited resource that must be apportioned among users by Government. The entity charged with the responsibility of managing, monitoring and regulating our RF spectrum is the Liberia Telecommunications Authority or LTA. The LTA remains the regulatory and competition authority charged with the statutory responsibility to ensure a vibrant telecommunications sector in Liberia. It has the responsibility to create an enabling environment that promotes market driven fair competition, which provides accessible and affordable communication services for all.Key on its list of responsibilities is the task of setting regulations for the nation’s RF spectrum; a task that it continues to perform effectively. One of its many regulations is that all users of the RF spectrum, unless otherwise stated, are required to have a spectrum license. Most regulators give exemptions to certain entities including: embassies and international organizations under the Vienna Convention and low power equipment, such as those operating in the 2.4 GHz band used by Wifi, Bluetooth etc. The LTA has a licensing regime which recognizes several types of Licenses. These licenses can be reviewed or revisited as time, technology and demand change, hence the letter from MICAT. In keeping with international standards, the LTA has built up its capacity to manage our RF spectrum, which is critical to our communications infrastructure. Sometime in 2017, an NGO called Nethope, through the USAID, provided a Spectrum Management and Monitoring solution (LS Observer) to the LTA. This Spectrum management and monitoring solution provides LTA with the foundation of spectrum monitoring capability, including identification of spectrum conflicts, identification of free spectrum, isolation of dead zones in coverage, and locating rogue networks.Ostensibly, innovation and the rate at which technology accelerates require policymakers and regulators to be equipped with the proper tools and capabilities, and position themselves to modernize their spectrum management capabilities within the country. It is equally clear that the sudden rush to exploit RF spectrum for commercial and social benefits, as a result of a blitzkrieg of new technologies and associated acronyms with terms such as DTV, HDTV, DVB-H, GSM, WCDMA, CDMA-2000, DAB, WiMax, WiFi, FWA, and TETRA, necessitates a parallel response on the part of regulators. The LTA experienced a quantum leap in its ability to manage our RF spectrum by installing a spectrum management solution. It (LTA) now has the ability to monitor, establish and maintain or support spectrum inventory activities and enforce spectrum usage policies and procedures. We must applaud them for that!Regulations will continue to evolve to close the communications and connectivity gaps, respond to changes in technology and the skyrocketing data traffic growth. They (regulations) will also continue to deliver on the immense potential of the internet and trending “phenomenon” such as the nascent Internet of Things industry. Therefore, effective spectrum licensing plays a key role in providing operators with access to RF spectrum. If structured correctly, licensing can help ICT sector attract the investment needed to further expand access to communications and enhance the quality and range of services delivered to the people.Next year, the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 or WRC-19 is expected to be held. Governments around the world are expected to build upon the foundations of previous conferences, to identify sufficient spectrum to support the future of the digital society. The WRC-19 is expected to look at spectrum for mobile broadband in frequencies between 24.25 and 86 GHz, thus, making it (WRC-19) essential to fully realizing the 5G vision. But, for now, we in Liberia need to ensure that our RF spectrum is properly managed and not impact any of the freedoms provided in our Constitution. The Government means well and I believe it is not doing anything that has not been done before. We are all cognizant of the fact that our choice of wrong policies, regulations and standards can lock our economy into long periods of economic under-performance, something we cannot afford anymore. Finally, our RF spectrum is one of the many natural resources that God has endowed us with. The primary objective of Government is to protect the RF spectrum users from harmful interference by one another, but in practice, spectrum management is a source of revenue for the Government. Adopting and managing spectrum reforms that address high-level changes, such as the transition to digital television, the path to third-generation mobile services, launching of wireless fixed broadband services, etc., are necessary if we are serious about improving our sector and economy. Until next week, Carpe diem!!!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
10 10 10 7) Schalke have 111.711 points – Click the arrow above, right, to see the top European team! – This season the German club ran current champions of Europe, Real Madrid, close in a memorable game at the Bernabeu in the last 16, though in recent seasons that is as far as they have gone. Schalke reached the semi-final in 2011 and the quarters a year later. 6) Portuguese giants Benfica are on 118.209 points – Click the arrow above, right, to see the top European team! – Benfica have performed better in the Europa League, losing two finals in 2013 and 2014. In the last five seasons of the Champions League the Portuguese giants have made it out of the group stage once, when they reached the quarter-final in 2012. 10 8) Over the last five seasons Porto have 111.209 points – Click the arrow above, right, to see the top European team! – Porto won the Europa League in 2011 and have jumped ahead of Arsenal having reached the Champions League quarter-final, where they lead Bayern Munich 3-1 after the first leg. 2) Over the last five seasons Barcelona have a total of 156.228 points – Click the arrow above, right, to see the top European team! – Barca beat Man United to win the Champions League in 2011, but since then they have reached two semi finals and one quarter-final. They are on the verge of a place in the 2015 last four, with a 3-1 lead to defend at home against PSG in their quarter-final second leg. 10 9) Arsenal have slid to ninth, on 110.078 points over the last five seasons – Click the arrow above, right, to see the top European team! – Arsenal’s inability to progress beyond the last 16 has seen them drop to ninth place. 10 10 3) German giants Bayern Munich have 149.711 points from their European exploits over the last five seasons – Click the arrow above, right, to see the top European team! – Bayern lost the 2012 final to Chelsea, but returned to win the competition a year later when they beat rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley. However, they have a huge task ahead of them against Porto if they want to reach a third final in five years they lost to winners Inter in 2010. getty images 10 10 10 5) Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid have 120.228 points – Click the arrow above, right, to see the top European team! – Atletico have become a force in Europe in recent seasons. They won the Europa League in 2010 and 2012 and reached the Champions League final in 2014. In addition they beat Inter and Chelsea to lift the Super Cup following their Europa League triumphs, though no ranking points are awarded for those victories. The latest UEFA club rankings have seen Arsenal on the move… but which way?Take a look at the top 10 above and find out who Europe’s best club sides are.Here’s how the rankings are worked out…Champions League points system:First qualifying round elimination – 0.5 pointsSecond qualifying round elimination – 1 pointGroup stage participation – 4 pointsGroup stage win – 2 pointsGroup stage draw – 1 pointRound of 16 participation – four pointsSince 2009/10 clubs have been awarded an additional point if they reach the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals or final. Points are not awarded for elimination in the third qualifying round or play-offs, since those clubs move to the UEFA Europa League and are awarded points for participation in that competitionUEFA Europa League points system:First qualifying round elimination – 0.25 pointsSecond qualifying round elimination – 0.5 pointsThird qualifying round elimination – 1 pointPlay-off elimination – 1.5 pointsGroup stage win – 2 pointsGroup stage draw – 1 pointSince 2009/10, clubs have been guaranteed a minimum of two points if they reach the group stage and are awarded an additional point if they get to the quarter-finals, semi-finals or final.Coefficient calculationAccording to UEFA, clubs’ coefficients are determined by the sum of all points won in the previous five years, plus 20 per cent of the association coefficient over the same period (33 per cent before 2009).The rankings are updated after each round.Click the arrow above, right, to see the top 10. 10) According to the latest UEFA club rankings, Man United are the 10th best club in Europe, with 103.078 co-efficient points – Click the yellow arrow above, right, to see the top European team! – UEFA’s club coefficient rankings are based on the results of clubs competing in the five previous seasons of the Champions and Europa League. These scores then determine the seeding of each club in all UEFA competition draws. Man United were absent from European competition this season, but strong showings in recent campaigns maintain their place in the top 10. They reached the final in 2011, but lost to Barcelona. Wayne Rooney and co. look set to be back in the big time next season. 4) Chelsea have 142.078 points over the last five European campaigns – Click the arrow above, right, to see the top European team! – Chelsea are the only London club ever to have won the Champions League 1) SURPRISE! It’s Real Madrid with 167.228 points – Prior to their 2014 win, Real reached the last four in three straight seasons, but must overcome Madrid rivals Atletico for a place in this year’s semi-final.