The Telecommunications Law Resource Center is the most comprehensive reference and news platform for communications law, covering broadcasting, cable, broadband, telephony and wireless;...
The Federal Communications Commission should consider liberalizing spectrum policy to allow for the seamless flow of spectrum from lower-valued to higher-valued uses, former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth told reporters June 17.
Speaking at a briefing hosted by the Hudson Institute's new Center for Economics of the Internet, Furchtgott-Roth, the head of the center, said that a decidedly more deregulatory approach will better resolve what FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has referred to as the “spectrum crunch.”
He criticized the concept of voluntary “incentive” auctions—in which television broadcasters, who license spectrum through the commission, could voluntarily release some of it back to the government in exchange for a share of the auction proceeds—as a “cumbersome, government-driven process.”
“The FCC should deregulate the use of spectrum and let it migrate to the best uses,” Furchtgott-Roth said.
The agency, in its mandate to regulate the airwaves according to “public interest, convenience or necessity,” maintains the exclusive right to determine what services can be offered over which bands. Under the current regime, wireless carriers, for example, must obtain a spectrum allocation through a formal rulemaking process, as there is no private band owner who can sell or lease airwaves to deliver new services to customers.
Thomas Hazlett, professor of law and economics at the George Mason School of Law, noted while unused or under-utilized spectrum can be found in all sorts of prime locations on the electromagnetic dial, frequencies are “walled off” from making any economic contribution.
“It's not that broadcasters don't have valuable content; it's that it’s not delivered efficiently,” he said.
Like Furchtgott-Roth, Hazlett found fault with the FCC's proposal, questioning the goal of reclaiming only 120 megahertz of spectrum from over-the-air broadcasters, when the broadcasting industry occupies 294 MHz.
“We're two generations beyond 1952,” Hazlett said, noting that the market today, even with access to free over-the-air television, has decided to pay $60 to $70 a month for access to pay-TV services. Roughly 90 percent of Americans subscribe to a cable, satellite, or telecom-company provided TV services, Hazlett said.
By Paul Barbagallo
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)