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Liberalizing US spectrum allocation


  • Hazlett, Thomas W.


In the US, adjudication of wireless entry under the "public interest" standard protects incumbent service providers. Excess demand exists for access to radio spectrum, despite a common misperception that license auctions held by regulators are tantamount to selling spectrum. Would-be suppliers are slowed by the regulatory process. After discussing the financial tolls extracted, the author suggests a number of structural policy reforms, applicable both to the USA and perhaps spectrum markets elsewhere. These include: permissive airwave use (within emission limits implicitly defined by the license); endowing licensees with use of adjacent buffer zones; exhaustive allocation of remaining bandwidth to new applicants and streamlining the process for entrants to gain access to unoccupied bandwidth, using liability rules and post-entry dispute resolution mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Hazlett, Thomas W., 2003. "Liberalizing US spectrum allocation," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 485-499, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:27:y:2003:i:7:p:485-499

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    Cited by:

    1. Fulvio Minervini & Diego Piacentino, 2007. "Spectrum Management and Regulation: Towards a Full-Fledged Market for Spectrum Bands?," Working Papers 07-2007, Macerata University, Department of Studies on Economic Development (DiSSE), revised Nov 2008.
    2. Minervini, Leo Fulvio, 2014. "Spectrum management reform: Rethinking practices," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 136-146.


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