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25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
A series of posts describing how this all came about. (Click on picture above)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Senior U.K. Ofcom Official Giving Presentation on Spectrum Reform in DC Area

The Theory, Practice, Politics and Problems
of Spectrum Reform:
A U.K. Regulator's Perspective

Head of Research and Development and Senior Technologist, OFCOM,
the telecommunications regulator in the United Kingdom

Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 4 p.m.
George Mason University School of Law, 3301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Va.

Regulation of the radio spectrum is nearly 100 years old. For almost all of that century, the policy-maker has micro-managed spectrum use, defining services, technologies and business models deployed by wireless operators. The inefficiencies embedded in this approach have triggered calls for liberalization since the pioneering 1950s work of Ronald Coase.

Yet, efforts to relax administrative control have proven slow and often contentious. Progress has been made in recent years, however, and policy makers in some nations are now seeking to achieve bolder changes. The regulator in the United Kingdom, Ofcom, has emerged as a leader in this campaign. After the Labour Government commissioned a landmark 2002 study authored by economist Martin Cave, Ofcom moved aggressively to assist the emergence of property rights in frequencies, the institutional switch enabling market allocation of radio spectrum.

This lecture, delivered by a key Ofcom policy official and a noted spectrum technology expert in his own right, dissects the liberalization process in Great Britain and offers lessons learned. This experience promises great insight for the U.S. and other countries struggling to enact pro-consumer policy reforms.

Where: George Mason University School of Law, Room 120, 3301 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201 (Orange Line: Virginia Square-GMU Metro).
When: Wednesday, November 12, 2008, 4 – 5:30 p.m., reception to follow
Admission is free, but seating is limited. Because of construction, parking is tight. See http://www.law.gmu.edu/geninfo/parking. See IEP Web page: http://iep.gmu.edu.
To reserve your spot, please email Drew Clark: iep.gmu@gmail.com.

1 comment:

Michael Whittaker said...


I notice that “Ofcom moved aggressively to assist the emergence of property rights”.

Strange property rights indeed.

For the avoidance of doubt, Ofcom eventually clarified that its spectrum access licences were not exclusive and that there is little likelihood of compensation if Ofcom requires changes to licence conditions which reduce ‘rights’ (spectrum utility) without licensee agreement (involuntary reduction can occur, for example, by Ofcom varying 2.6 GHz licences by introducing new national and cross-border spectrum sharing requirements). Ofcom has reserved its right to issue additional licences after the auction for use of all or part of the auctioned spectrum and no refund will be made except at the absolute discretion of Ofcom (See para 2.14 and Annex 1, para 10 “Auction of spectrum: 1452 – 1492 MHz, Information Memorandum Update” 13 March 2008).

Of course, Ofcom says all this would occur after thorough consultation. But we are both very aware of what consultation really involves.

Better solutions are available.

Michael Whittaker, Futurepace