It seems to me…
“To cross the seas, to traverse the roads, and to work machinery by galvanism, or rather electro-magnetism, will certainly, if executed, be the most noble achievement ever performed by man.” ~ Alfred Smee – Elements of Electro-Metallurgy: or The Art of Working in Metals by the Galvanic Fluid (1841).
Electromagnetic spectrum is a limited resource for which imaginative observers always are able to propose uses far in excess of availability. There are international committees responsible for defining how this resource is to be subdivided among the many competing possible applications but there still remains considerable flexibility within these broad agreements as to how specific segments of that spectrum can be portioned for use within each country. Since electromagnetic radiation does not respect artificial national demarcations, this frequently results in interference resulting from the different uses defined in response to what basically remains politically-motivated division of an increasingly valuable but limited asset.
Unfortunately, many decisions regarding division of this resource are made not by acknowledged experts or even individuals experienced in the field but by those with competing agendas without any understanding or apparent concern of long-term implications of their decisions. By allowing elected politicians to decide on highly technical allocation nuances, we again are subjected to the corrupting influences of self-serving lobbyists. Usage patterns and priorities change over time and currently are undergoing what historically are the most rapid advances to ever have occurred in this area. Frequency reallocation is obviously necessary and appropriate.
Congress apparently considers this reallocation process simply as an opportunity to auction off spectrum and generate additional revenue. Given the standard political process of business as usual, this apparently makes good sense to those with limited understanding of what actually is at stake. It also primarily benefits already entrenched interests able to afford purchases of wireless spectrum such as AT&T, Verizon, and other large well-established companies to the detrimental exclusion of new small startups with limited funding but able to bring much-needed innovation and new applications to new developing areas. Reallocation is necessary but an auction is the wrong way for it to be done.
Wireless broadband applications are expected to continue increasing and exceed current allocations allotments. While already experiencing constraints in areas of high population density, existing companies would be able to expand into additional frequencies at less expense than evolving onto more efficient network deployments. Wireless network expansion is required to support the rapidly increasing use of video-based applications and other high data-rate communications. Internet service providers (ISPs) primarily view this primarily as an opportunity to provide for-profit entertainment and should be required as part of any reallocation to support equal upload and download data rates.
Certainly necessitating at least temporary spectrum allocation is improvement in the national emergency wireless network. Current system weaknesses where various agencies are unable to intercommunicate in emergencies necessitate the urgent need for improved system capabilities but part of any spectrum allocation to this service should be the required reallocation of current emergency communications allocations by pre-established usage termination dates.
While some very limited determination of spectrum allocation by the private sector interests might be appropriate, primary allocation should be based solely on the public’s best interests and remain free of political or financially motivated influences.
That’s what I think, what about you?