Thursday, January 4, 2007

A Brief Comparison of Spectrum Policy Methods

For the typical individual, attempting to understand or comprehend why spectrum matters is not an easy nor simple task, which more than likely explains why most don't even bother. For these folks, perhaps reading this short paper describing the three major areas of thought regarding spectrum policy will help put much of what you hear or have read on the subject into the proper context.

A Comparative Analysis of Spectrum Management Regimes

By Johannes M. Bauer
Department of Telecommunication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan



Spectrum management influences the evolution of the mobile communications industry. Administrative "command and control" spectrum management, "market-based" approaches, and "commons" or "open spectrum" approaches are analyzed. These methods have unique advantages and disadvantages and no single approach is superior on all counts. Optimal spectrum policy will have to determine the right mix of these methods rather than adopting one model.

Basically, what this paper says is that balanced spectrum management policies are needed to satisfy the wireless communications requirements of all competing spectrum users. Unfortunately, not only is there NO up-to-date official spectrum policy in the United States to guide us, but the current methods of management and allocation (not to mention Rules enforcement) of the spectrum are not by any means well-balanced - other than in terms of how many dollars the government is able to place in the Treasury by selling the airwaves. (But wait; that's another issue all by itself, and may be the topic of a future post.)


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