Friday, December 29, 2006

Policing the Wireless Spectrum

This 2005 paper by Dale Hatfield - Chairman of the NTIA's Spectrum Advisory Committee - and Phil Weiser - University of Colorado Law School - underscores the need for a new model of spectrum policy and regulation for unlicensed bands. Experience with the citizen's band (CB), FRS, (and, in certain cases, licensed Private Land Mobile and Public Safety radio) demonstrates how interference caused by unauthorized uses (such as amplifiers ) and users can undermine a previously popular - or, in the case of Public Safety, disrupt life-safety - use of spectrum. In the current environment, technologies like Wi-Fi, which can take control of and fully exploit a public wi-fi network - or malicious jamming by hackers - pose the same danger. To date, proponents have argued that unlicensed bands can facilitate technological innovation and the efficient use of spectrum. But they have not explained what the FCC should do to prevent deviation from the protocols (or certified equipment) or the Commission's Part 15 Regulations (What a surprise! There ARE a few Rules!) that (if followed, would) maximize the effectiveness of shared uses of unlicensed spectrum for everyone.


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