On March 24th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a roundtable to discuss accessing the economic potential of wireless spectrum through improved allocation, assignment and adjudication of spectrum. The event marked the release of the Hamilton Project’s newest proposal by Pierre de Vries and Phil Weiser to reform the “command and control” regime in wireless spectrum regulation. The Hamilton Project’s proposal adds to a growing body of work from the Center for Technology Innovation (CTI) at Brookings on regulating wireless spectrum. CTI’s work has focused on a variety of topics within wireless spectrum, including the future of unlicensed spectrum, the use of reverse auctions, and the importance of regulation in bridging the technology divide.
Congressional Testimony from CTI Founding Director Darrell West
In his recent Congressional testimony on wireless technology, Darrell West argued for greater efficiency in the use of both licensed and unlicensed spectrum and incentives to encourage the reallocation of bandwidth to meet high demand. Unlicensed spectrum is a key resource for small businesses and ensuring continued access to those unlicensed bands is crucial to promote the growth of the economy.
Expert Analysis from Brookings Scholars
Jeffrey Rosen, a Nonresident Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings, published a paper entitled The Future of Spectrum. The growing demand for mobile internet requires a larger amount of wireless radio spectrum. However, unlicensed spectrum for wireless broadband is scarce. Rosen explains how the National Broadband Plan addresses this challenge by making more spectrum available for wireless broadband use by lifting regulations on certain bands. With the support of the FCC, the National Broadband Plan provides a policy framework for the future of wireless spectrum governance.
Brookings Events on the Future of Unlicensed Spectrum
This January, CTI hosted a panel to discuss the future of unlicensed spectrum. Experts from the private sector, academia, and community activist joined Darrell West to discuss how to best use spectrum. They also discussed the threat of spectrum shortage and the potential impacts for innovation and the economy. The full audio recording of the event is available online.
One major but often overlooked advantage of unlicensed wireless spectrum is its ability to expand access to digital technology. Wireless spectrum policy has the capacity to deliver wireless technology to under-served and isolated populations, bridging the digital divide present in modern American society. The panel discussed innovative uses of wireless spectrum to bridge the digital divide in addition to the implications of future policy on citizen access to wireless technology.
This May, Darrell West will continue the discussion of the future of wireless spectrum in his paper, “State of the Mobile Economy.” To learn more about the Center for Technology Innovation’s work on wireless spectrum, please visit our website.
Sonia Vora contributed to the writing of this post.