Tuesday, June 25, 2013

FSF Conference Panel Spotlights Spectrum Policy and Auctions

The Free State Foundation has just released the transcript of the panel session, "The Right Regulatory Approaches for Successful Spectrum Policy and Auctions." This was the third and final panel featured at FSF's Fifth Annual Conference.
In introducing the panel, moderator Richard Wiley, a former FCC Chairman, had this to say:
Senator Rubio put it well that spectrum is a finite asset, but it's also true that there are infinite demands upon that asset.  Today, we can and doubtless will debate as to whether or not we are facing a spectrum shortage or even a crisis.  But clearly there are more and more wireless and mobile devices and services being introduced into the marketplace every day, and therefore more and more demands for spectrum. Now, how these demands could be met, what users, either in government or in the private sector, will be impacted, and how they'll be impacted is something that we want to talk about today.  And it's at the top of the communications policy agenda.
There is an abundance of insight, as well as debate, on display in the panel transcript.

A common theme reiterated by panelists was the importance of keeping participation in the upcoming two-sided incentive auction open to all participants. This theme is also the focus of my June 21 Perspectives from FSF Scholars paper, "FCC Must Maintain Open Eligibility for Incentive Spectrum Auction." That paper builds directly on remarks made by the panelists. FSF President Randolph May likewise addressed this policy imperative in his blog post, "The FCC's Incentive Auction: KISS It." 

The FCC must resist calls to exclude highly capitalized carriers from participating in the auction. Such exclusionary restrictions risk undermining the entire incentive auction. And alternative means for addressing any potential spectrum concentration concerns are available to the FCC post-auction.