Wireless spectrum promises to become one of the hottest
commodities of the 21st Century. The radio spectrum, a limited resource, is the
range of radio frequencies on which wireless communications may travel. Just as
certain domain names or posh physical addresses are valuable, certain portions
of the spectrum can be very valuable to business, government, the military and
community service and protection, such as police and firefighters. You can see
a copy of the radio spectrum chart here.
The increases in number of wireless users and the unchanging
amount of available spectrum suggests that spectrum will become a very hot
commodity in the coming years.
A prime example of the battles we can expect to see is
demonstrated in a current proposal to allocate spectrum to public safety uses,
compared to an auction to the highest bidder. While the interests are not
perfectly black and white, many of the common arguments for and against certain
allocations are present. Business argues that private allocation allows for
substantial improvement in wireless innovation and services. Public safety and
military interests argue that safety is of utmost importance.
Bottom Line: Spectrum
matters will continue to considerably become more important to nearly every
market participant over the upcoming years. The FCC, the Department of Commerce
and Congress can all expect to face some tough decisions when it comes to
determining the appropriate allocation of radio spectrum.