Assigning Property Rights to Radio Spectrum Users: Why Did Fcc License Auctions Take 67 Years?

Thomas W. Hazlett
1998 The Journal of law & economics  
2 Arlington Economics LLC. I have provided expert testimony to federal and state courts, regulatory agencies, committees of Congress, foreign governments, and international organizations. 2. AT&T requested that I address the issues raised in this FCC proceeding regarding wireless innovation, and this Declaration is submitted subsequent to that request. The analysis and opinions expressed in this Declaration are entirely my own. II. PURPOSE AND SUMMARY OF DECLARATION 3. Wireless services are key
more » ... drivers of the Information Economy, and radio spectrum is the lifeblood of wireless networks. As such, regulators face competing demands for spectrum from a wide range of potential users, all of whom desire bandwidth for their communications applications. The implication of this rivalry for access to additional spectrum is clear: frequency rights have opportunity costs. 4. Spectrum can be made available on either a licensed or unlicensed basis. With respect to licenses, policy makers began by relying on traditional, defined-use permits, such as those issued to broadcasters. In recent decades, the trend has favored the issuance of broad, flexible-use spectrum rights. 2 These liberal licenses have permitted competition and innovation to flourish, with licensees deploying bandwidth to the uses where it can create the largest social gains. Many economists urge regulators to authorize more such licenses. 3 Others argue, conversely, that the economy will most benefit from allowing additional access for
doi:10.1086/467402 fatcat:vkp5a5herzgsjjnop5xciqbzse