Budde said he was in favour of charging a lower price for radio spectrum and imposing obligations on buyers to better serve rural communities, perhaps by creating the telecommunications’ equivalent of an “open commons”.
Telecommunications Users Association chief executive Paul Brislen said he would be happy to see the digital dividend spectrum sold at a discount if that ensured the rollout of 4G in rural areas was on a par with that in cities and towns. However, an industry source queried whether attaching conditions to the spectrum sale would be the most efficient way of supporting such a policy.
Time for Government to stop exploiting our shared spectrum resource as a form of indirect taxation which leads to poor competitive outcomes and fat margins to the winners who take all.
The reason spectrum is treated as though it were finite is because it is still divided by frequencies — an outdated understanding of how radio technology works, he said. “I hate to even use the word ‘spectrum,’ ” he said. “It’s a 1920s understanding of how radio communications work.
Why, then, wouldn’t carriers want to use these newer technologies that cause frequencies to not interfere? Because licensing spectrum is a zero-sum game. When a company gets the license for a band of radio waves, it has the exclusive rights to use it. Once a company owns it, competitors can’t have it.
Mr. Reed said the carriers haven’t advocated for the newer technologies because they want to retain their monopolies.
With growth rates less than half of the predictions, a data-driven FCC and Congress has no reason to rush to bad policy. Wireless technology is rapidly moving to sharing spectrum, whether in-building small cells, WiFi, White Spaces, Shared RAN or tools of what the engineers are calling hetnets – heterogenous networks. The last thing policymakers should do is tie up more spectrum for exclusive use; shared spectrum often yields three to ten times as much capacity.
Bad compromises on the video spectrum are unnecessary because plenty of spectrum is unused. That includes the 20 MHz that M2Z would be building out today if Julius hadn’t blocked them; the 20 MHz the cable companies are sitting on and want to sell to Verizon; and the 30 MHz or so Stankey identifies as fallow at AT&T.
Another case for the removal of exclusivity and more general spectrum allocation. Making a decision now about what’s best denies the flexibility the likes of 802.22 et al can provide through smarter, cognitive, approaches.
As a revenue source, spectrum auctions are a particularly pernicious tax on wireless innovation. They pick the wrong technology for wireless infrastructure by regulatory fiat, and strengthen the market dominance of already-dominant players. The costs of this policy to innovation and growth greatly outweigh its revenue benefits.
These auctions may lock in an outdated regulatory paradigm, strengthen the dominant mobile broadband carriers, and block the path for some of the most innovative wireless technologies that could improve mobile broadband speed and reduce its price over the next decade
The proposed spectrum auctions are being promoted under the false premise that boosting mobile broadband, smart grid communications, inventory management systems, mobile payments, and health monitoring requires auctioning exclusive pieces of licensed spectrum. In reality, these markets are fast developing through unlicensed wireless applications, like WiFi.
These dynamic markets are telling us something new: The future of wireless will likely be mostly unlicensed, with an important, but residual role of auctioned, licensed services. And yet the drive to auctions simply ignores the evidence from actual markets in favor of an outmoded regulatory ideal that is the opposite of what cutting edge radio engineering and dynamic markets show.
To me it sounds very like the dominant incumbent exclusivity regime being chosen over the developing innovative, chaotic, anarchic, and successful models. That sounds like the copyright struggle to me.
If you haven’t, read this. He puts it so much better.