Category Archives: Spectrum Mapper

Data updates resumed & Visual Refresh

The FCC resumed updating their License View data dump in August, so I have resumed data updates for the Spectrum Map. The FCC updates the License View data weekly. Expect updates to the map data at least once a month, if not more than that (my goal is 2-3x a month, depending on my free time).

I also did a minor visual refresh of the site – it should work a little better on smaller devices like iPhones and iPads, and also is leveraging modern web development tools.

I’m glad to be back, I plan to keep this site going as long as there is interest and the FCC keeps their data sources updated!

If you’d like to contact me, feel free to drop me a line on my contact page.

Spectrum Mapper Version 1.5 Released

I’ve updated the spectrum mapper app to version 1.5. It’s now able to use the FCC License View data for the maps, but not the metro spectrum breakdown (thats still running on old FCC Spectrum Dashboard data).

The new features are:

  • New, slightly more accurate data source
  • Direct link into the FCC’s ULS for each license.

The SMR and EBS/BRS spectrum is a bit messy – the spectrum licenses I download don’t correspond to the ULS, so there are mismatches and somewhat clumsy records.

I will continue to do what I can for the metro spectrum breakdown, but that will be a much more involved effort, which may take me the rest of the summer.

Feedback is welcome! Drop a comment below.

Work on version 2 underway

Ever since the FCC stopped updating the spectrum mapper data, I’ve been left in the lurch when it comes to data updates.

I have started work using the FCC’s License View portal that allows me to download all 16M FCC licenses. There are downsides though – I have to sift through all those licenses and extract the ones I want, and the licenses don’t have county level disaggregation information associated with it (e.g. if a license is broken into pieces geographically or a spectrum block is split by frequency ranges).

The latter is a huge problem for the Metro mapper tool because it doesn’t accurately show what licenses are in effect in which metropolitan area. The regular mapping system won’t have a problem since things are broken up by license area. So that means I have a substantial amount of work left. And my free time is way smaller than it used to be, so it might take a while…

New Feature + Minor Data Update

I added a new feature – the ability to deep link directly into band/block data. Simply add #band/band-code/block-code to the end of the URL to have it automatically load that data up. So for example, to load up AWS-1 block C, add #band/aw/c to the end of the URL. FWIW, I’m using “AZ” for the two letter band code for AWS-4 (“AW” is AWS-1, so I figure “AX” for AWS-2, “AY” for AWS-3 and “AZ” for AWS-4, makes sense to me).

I also updated the database to move all the WCS licenses from the various companies that sold them to AT&T. Not all the WCS licenses moved, and Sprint still owns several large blocks in the southern US (notably, both of the ones covering Dallas, AT&T’s home turf. I didn’t move over the few AWS licenses transferred from Nextwave, nor did I include any recent 700MHz transfers made recently.

December Data Update

Data updated for December, doesn’t look like there were too many changes. Still having duplicate data issues for the Leap/T-Mo/Verizon license swap. I updated the carrier maps as well as added one for T-Mobile + MetroPCS.

Updated Data for October

I updated the band & metro area (but not carrier) data for October. I wrote some code that downloads and processes the data, so future data updates should be a bit easier. The data includes the transfer of SpectrumCo and Cox spectrum to Verizon, and Verizon’s exchange with Leap.

More Data Clean-up

In the wake of the FCC approving the Verizon-SpectrumCo deal this week, I assigned all Cox and SpectrumCo licenses to Verizon (though I haven’t updated the associated deals – Leap, MetroPCS and T-Mobile; for those I’m waiting for updated FCC license data).

I also went through and built software to make generating the updated datasets for the carriers and bands pages faster and easier for me. Which is good because I’m going to have less time on my hands since I’m going to business school for my MBA.

Once the FCC updates its database for the acquisitions, I’ll pull the data from their website and update my datasets.

New Feature & Data Update

Over this past weekend I spent time coding and a new feature has arrived!

I’ve now added a basic spectrum chart for specific metro areas. For now, I’ve limited it to three areas – NYC (Manhattan), LA (LA County aka downtown) and Las Vegas (because its where I live). I’ve got a few other features I have to add before I can roll it out to more metro areas (specifically, what happens if a specific area is shared geographically by two companies). For now enjoy, I have to curate the data before adding a new metro area to the list and sometimes check bad data against the FCC’s online licensing system (which is a huge pain in the ass).

Also I’ve updated the data on the “By Bands” page as well (the “By Carrier” page is still a bit out of date, the next thing on my list is to write a global data update & cleanup tool). The data finally shows the result of AT&T’s spectrum transfer to T-Mobile. There are so many pending spectrum transfers going on right now I’m starting to lose track…

  • SpectrumCoAWS and Cox sell spectrum (AWS-1 20MHz, 700 Lower 12MHz) to Verizon
  • Verizon & Leap trade spectrum (Lower 700MHz 12MHz for some AWS-1 blocks)
  • Verizon to sell Lower 700MHz A & B blocks either already owned or soon to be acquired to the highest bidder in a private auction (most of the “B” blocks will go to AT&T, while the “A” blocks may go to regional carriers).
  • Verizon & T-Mobile to trade and sell spectrum in the AWS-1 band to allow T-Mobile to get faster LTE speeds in certain metro areas come 2013.

I’ve probably missed some but Its a lot to keep track of – its starting to remind me of the BCS and college football conference reshuffling. Plus there is the outstanding issue of Echostar’s (Dish Network) 40MHz of satellite they want to convert to terrestrial cellular. Why Charlie Ergan wants to start his own cellular carrier I don’t know, seems like more of a headache – I’d just sell the spectrum and take my 6-7 billion dollars in profit and retire.

Data Update & Clean-up

Downloaded new data for the Bands map for April. I’m still waiting on the FCC to approve several of the pending spectrum acquisitions  (cable companies to Verizon, AT&T AWS to T-Mobile, etc) before I do a visual map update.

I’m still trying to build something to allow people to visualize spectrum blocks subdivided geographically and by frequency. We’ll see…

Version 2.0!

I updated the Spectrum Mapper to version 2.0! The big (and only) feature add was the ability to view spectrum ownership by band and block. Now in some cases (PCS Broadband block) the frequencies are divided up into a million pieces nationwide, so you get this incredible listing of frequencies, which really doesn’t help but I’ll figure out a way to clean it up.

So the next things are deep linking into the map and cleaning up the band frequency listing.

Data Update: Added Qualcomm spectrum to AT&T, waiting on AT&T’s FCC filing to move their AWS spectrum over to T-Mobile.

And yes, this is what I spent my New Years Eve doing. Pretty sad huh?