WASHINGTON – If the government would sell more wireless spectrum,users would have more and better technology,including more flexible GPS,experts said Tuesday.
More than 30 people attended a discussion at Hudson Institute about wireless spectrum which is controlled by the federal government. Gregory L. Rosston,deputy director of the Stanford Institute for economic policy research,said the government should release more spectrum to businesses so they can improve services to their customers.
Rosston was the deputy chief economist at the Federal Communications Commission in the mid-1990s and oversaw the first government spectrum auction.
“The FCC has sold licenses to use the spectrum to commercial entities since auctions began in 1994. In addition,the FCC has made spectrum available to unlicensed users with no charge,” Roston said.
Most GPS services use free,unlicensed spectrum,meaning providers have no incentive to improve the service,he said.
Although there has been a rapid increase in spectrum usage,prices have not gone up for those that do not have a license.
“There is no bargaining or economic incentive. GPS users are unlicensed,which makes spectrum rights fragmented,” Thomas W. Hazlett,professor of law and economics at George Mason University,said.
Rosston said the government and private sector could benefit from charging spectrum users a fee. By doing this,individuals in the private sector would be able to use more of the government spectrum for personal use.
“There is a lot of promise in government spectrum,but there is not a lot of free and open spectrum,” Rosston said.
Rosston said the government plans to make more spectrum available to the private sector.
“This will be done by the government auctioning off spectrum that is being used for government services such as military training,” he said. “It has the authority to use auctions to reallocate spectrum from limited broadcast use to more flexible uses.”
Reach reporter Janiece Peterson at [email protected] or 202-326-9867. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.