Spectrum Auctions: Yesterday's Heresy, Today's Orthodoxy, Tomorrow's Anachronism. Taking the Next Step to Open Spectrum Access
The auction paradigm for spectrum allocation has moved from heresy to orthodoxy, but like its predecessors it will not be the end of history. A better alternative, not driven by the revenue needs of government, is license-free spectrum. Users would gain entry to frequency bands on a pay-as-you-go basis, instead of controlling a slice of the spectrum. They would transmit their content together with access tokens. These tokens are electronic money. Access prices would vary with congestion, set by automatic clearinghouses of spectrum users. Spot and futures markets for spectrum access would emerge. Once technology and economics can solve the interference problem in ways other than exclusivity, the question arises whether the right to use the spectrum for electronic speech is the government's to sell in the first place. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.
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