Free As In Beer?

Its an interesting time in OHANL. We’ve just come out of the most lucrative spectrum auction, just derailed one of the new entrants and finally saw two of the three largest carriers deliver 3G spectrum (five years late).

A modest proposal

So in the spirit of disruptive thinking here’s one idea that needs to see the light of day more. Should wireless spectrum be privately owned (a carrier buys the exclusive right to use a specific spectrum), be publicly owned (a carrier can exclusively use a particular part of a public resource) or shared (all carriers can ride on the same spectrum). While technologically there are hurdles in moving from one model to the next, but in it’s simplest we really do need to consider these tough issues.

We got to thinking about this prompted by a recent article by Mark Lowenstein in Fierce Wireless. Many countries have monetized what was once a broad public resource (spectrum) and not done a single thing to improve the underlying industry with the proceeds of sale. That’s analogous to charging outrageous taxes on gasoline, as we do here in the GWN, and not spending enough maintaining the road infrastructure.

Why can’t we all just get along

Another question is, given the perpetual need for more spectrum to fuel the inefficiencies of carriers, why is all spectrum not shared. We’re not network designers but there are smart enough people to figure this out.

Tough questions and ones for which we should be discussing the answers.

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