Moving forward with spectrum

We waste so much spectrum!

In the digital age, what we are doing with spectrum is anachronistic. Most governments need to have a good look at spectrum policy in the light of digitisation. David Reed writes (sorry I can’t remember the source, perhaps Dave Farbers list)

Our understanding and technology has come a long way since then and examples like the 25 Watt Voyager which is able to send kilobits of data per second against the background noise of Jupiter and now all the way from the Kuipers Belt demonstrate the spectrum allocation isn’t the only coding system and, in fact, it would be difficult to find one that is more wasteful. It’s analogous to allocating cattle ranches into quarter acre plots to avoid risking any bovine getting more than its “fair” share.

…… shouldn’t the burden of proof be on those who insist on maintaining spectrum allocation to demonstrate that it is still absolutely necessary? Of course existing analog radios may have problems if left unprotected but that isn’t sufficient grounds to maintain a ban on the all communications forever.

So much research now is telling us that legacy tv channels, broadcast media and the odd proprietary mobile device are occupying dedicated spectrum allocations which are unnecessary any more.

Its a difficult question for governments because sales of spectrum means revenue. But perhaps this simply has to transform into a “licence to broadcast” – in other words, leave the spectrum available for public use and public good, and deal with the legacy media monopolies via a licence system rather than a spectrum ownership system.

That spectrum is needed for better media.


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