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Network United States Wireless Networking

FCC To Review the Relative Value of Low, High, and Super-high Spectrum Licenses 58

MrSeb writes "The FCC is reviewing the rules it has for spectrum license ownership, particularly on how much spectrum any one company can hold. The FCC is considering this rework because the rules do not currently account for the properties of different frequencies of spectrum. There are three main classes of spectrum for cellular wireless networks: low band, high band, and super high band — but at the moment, they are all valued equally. Given that low band spectrum is valued favorably against high band and super high band spectrum in the market, and that AT&T and Verizon have by far the most low band spectrum, it makes sense for the FCC to adjust its rules in order to more accurately determine how much spectrum any one company needs."
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FCC To Review the Relative Value of Low, High, and Super-high Spectrum Licenses

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  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @11:32AM (#41205885)

    Why do I feel more and more like I'm a Chinese citizen and not an American citizen?

    Hmmmm... yes... let's deregulate the use of spectrum and let the companies actually "compete" for it... freely, no rules, interference and jamming and, why not, hitmen and private armies should be allowed.

    Does somehow the concept of commons [wikipedia.org] rings to you too close to communism?

  • by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @11:33AM (#41205891) Journal

    Privately allocating the radio spectrum is only marginally more stupid than privately allocating land. It's a shared resource and should really be allocated according to need rather than on the basis of bidding wars / trade / etc. In particular, it is absurd that individual private companies obtain exclusive access to invaluable ranges where either multiplexing could occur.

  • by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @11:58AM (#41206027) Journal

    What is need? I need a haircut - in fact I need one every week, as long as someone else is paying.

    In what sense is the cutting of your hair based on the allocation of licences to exploitation of natural resources?

    The radio ranges are not invaluable.

    Yes they are. They're not the product of man's mind. You can't create more frequencies by re-investing your profits.

    In fact, lots of people have gotten rich by getting politicians to tip the rules in their favor, allowing them to get a license while excluding others.

    There's the problem - exclusive access.

    They have a particular value, which should be set by the highest bidder.

    You only get to put stuff you own up for bidding. This is either something you create or something that has been freely traded after being created by something else. The spectrum comes under neither of those categories. A free market, at least, does not give an unfair advantage to people who happened to have some amount of money available when a government felt in the mood to give exclusive rights to something.

    Let the market operate like it always has when people have let it.

    Innovate; consolidate; stagnate; profiteer?

    Yes, there's a limited amount of wave lengths. There's a limited amount of everything.

    And you have the rights to the limited fruits of your limited labour. IOW, no-one should be able to tell you that they own what you make.

    What part of, say, a 100kHz band at 14MHz was the result of anyone's work?

  • by Hazel Bergeron ( 2015538 ) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @01:10PM (#41206535) Journal

    Haircuts services are one commodity. Frequencies are another.

    No, that's not how a "commodity" tends to be defined. A commodity is something which is produced or sourced. In the narrowest definition, it's what's produced, i.e. goods or services. In the "commodities market" sense, it encompasses raw materials, foods and even electricity. Availability of a natural resource cannot be treated like something which is produced or sourced.

    Indeed if someone were to be sold a true range of frequency,

    To sell something, you have to have a legitimate owner. Unless the government is the default owner of everything, there is no right in the first place to sell some range of frequencies. You may offer some argument based on who has done work to make something available, but the first man to mine some coal does not have a claim to all the coalmines in the world (to which the same mining technique can be applied). At best, he has a patent on the mining technique - just as radio equipment engineers may have secured patents on various stages of the transceiver, or a particular modulation method.

    then they'd have an incentive to invest in technology that increased the accuracy of receivers.

    Maybe. There is no guarantee that "owners" of various bandwidths would use them in a way which benefits the majority. There is no guarantee that one single firm doesn't end up buying them all up. A natural monopoly cannot be overcome by simply having some other guy create a competing good/service.

    Of course we have more radio waves available, in an economic sense, than we did in the past. Technology improves.

    We have more efficient usage of finite useful bandwidth (sometimes!). But that's not an argument for anything - especially since some of the most efficient long-distance protocols were created by public enterprise (academic and military) and by radio amateurs.

    There's no exclusivity like licensure. Appropriate the spectrum and it will be traded much more freely.

    "will" = "might". I see no reason to believe that traded spectrum is going to be used more efficiently than spectrum managed at various levels. It's not like some other guy can just create a competing spectrum - and there's the rub.

    Radio technology as humans can use it was made by people.

    The tech is not the same as the airwaves, though. Shipbuilders or deep-sea cable layers do not buy the oceans. Airplane builders do not buy out the skies. And see above re legitimate sale.

    There will be a lot more drive to improve and expand technology when the pieces belong to someone.

    Alternatively, there may be no drive because a group of consolidated owners don't have to worry about competition any more.

    Competitive markets just happen to be the best thing we know of to create prosperity across the board.

    They work well sometimes. Not everything is a nail. Absolutism is the burden every intelligent young person has to lift from their shoulders.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker