Wednesday, August 22, 2007

700 MHz, TV "White Space" Spectrum, the FCC and the Future of Wireless Communications

She's done it again! Susan P. Crawford, that is. In her latest working paper, The Radio and The Internet, she presents a broad overview and historical background (with many footnotes to more in-depth details for those with inquiring minds) of how the natural resource known as the RF spectrum has been allocated and managed (or, as many believe, mis-managed) by the FCC over the last several decades.

But, she also has done an excellent job (the best I've seen, at least) of putting into a pretty balanced context most of the unbalanced rhetoric, hype, and political posturing from all sides of the hotly debated 700 MHz auction rules proceeding that we've all just experienced.

She also reminds the regulators of the pressing need for them to be much more decisive than they have been regarding the definition of the "public interest" aspect of 21st century spectrum and technology matters during the on-going TV "White Spaces" debate which, by the way, will most certainly be the subject of the next big spectrum battle. Stay tuned - it's likely to be just as contentious if not more so than the 700 MHz debate was since it involves unlicensed use of the spectrum.

Here's the abstract of the paper, but the actual paper is a much better read and really deserves a few minutes of your time:


The airwaves offer the potential for contributing to enormous
economic growth if they are used more efficiently for facilitating
high-speed internet access, but recent industry and government
actions have failed to follow this path.

This article evaluates the multi-billion-dollar 700 MHz auction
regime established by the Federal Communications Commission
in August 2007 as a case study in our national approach to this
valuable resource, and argues that the public interest would
be served by having ubiquitous access to the internet be
the top
priority of communications policy.

The article criticizes the nearly exclusive focus of the FCC on the
interests of incumbents and law enforcement, and suggests that
spectrum policy be focused on enabling unlicensed uses of the
airwaves that can assist the nation with online access.

Download a copy and decide for yourself.


No comments: