In Business Model, Internet Access, Spectrum

If dynamic assignment of spectrum is so efficient, and if, while avoiding interference, it is possible to use spectrum without specifying its purpose (only 2G, only Wi-Fi, only first responder networks, only TV broadcast), why wouldn’t we do that across all communications bands?

It’s a good question, flowing from either a good “how technology can work” or “what’s best for innovation” standpoint.

The problem is that more than technology and good sense is centrally involved. There is political rationality and regulatory rationality. Even when some different pattern arguably is better, regulators do not possess infinite power to make licensing rules conform.

Every issuance of spectrum rights leads to an established industry and serious financial interests that believe (rightly) that economic value results from the license regime. It always is rational, in terms of business interest, to resist any moves that would diminish the value of a license. Sharing reduces scarcity value, and therefore business advantage and asset value.

For that reason, even changes that are a net positive in terms of increasing overall communications spectrum availability, which arguably promote innovation and allow new services and business models, will be opposed.

No matter how sound the technology logic, the political logic will run counter to such new concepts. As always, huge vested financial interests always are at stake, even when something so apparently “narrowly technical” as access methods that add new users and apps while protecting licensed users, is possible.

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