So what I’d like to see in the National Broadband Plan is to make that entire 500mhz available as unregulated spectrum where anyone and everyone can build technologies, devices, markets, and businesses in it.
Fred Wilson - The National Broadband Plan
Couldn’t agree more. I forwarded a similar idea in a telecom law final three years ago (shout-out to my professor and thesis adviser, Tim Wu for developing a great class/exam). The question, derived from the newly announced wireless spectrum auction, asked us to develop an allocation plan for the 700 MHz spectrum (previously used for tv broadcasts).
Looking back over my exam (the wonders of gmail), I still agree with what I wrote:
“Telecom regulation should endeavor to push three goals: (1) scalable, high-capacity access points, (2) strong, cost-effective peripheral connections, and (3) efficient distribution of frequency for the benefit of the public at large … To use a simple analogy, the government should act as if the wireless industry were a highway, setting out lanes and using its regulatory powers in a manner that incentivizes the creation of efficient vehicles and a network of accessible, usable, cost-effective filling stations.
“[To that end, a portion of the spectrum should be set aside and] maintained by the government according to open source, net neutral protocols, and offered free of charge … In this way, innovation at the edges will be privately funded, either by telecoms seeking a competitive advantage or consumers seeking a better way.”
UHF television generally occupies/occupied the 470-870 MHz range. This range is great for broadband for a few reasons: 1) it’s already allocated to a consolidated purpose; and 2) it strikes a nice balance between data capacity and signal robustness. I hope the government adopts a plan similar to Fred’s proposal. Radio spectrum is a platform for innovation that belongs in the public domain.