Arnold Kling

Another Broadband Wacko

Arnold Kling, Great Questions of Economics
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It turns out that DeWayne Hicks (see posts 35 and 37) is not the only wacko who thinks that the FCC should let the market determine the best use for spectrum. Forbes' Rich Karlgaard also advocates having the FCC get out of the business of allocating blocks of spectrum to different companies and industries.

...our FCC's laws--which treat spectrum as a sort of real estate, complete with CCRs and fences--get doubly moronic every year and a half.

The appropriate metaphor for spectrum in the 21st century is the ocean, not real estate. Boats make one guarantee--to avoid one another--then the ocean is pretty much theirs to use. Similarly, e-mail, voice and video should be free to travel the entire sweep of God's airwaves. Only one law need apply: Don't interfere.

Discussion Question. In fact, setting up standards and enforcing rules for an open spectrum would be quite a challenge. What are some issues that would have to be addressed?

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