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Communications

UK to Privatize Radio Spectrum? 284

judgecorp writes "The UK regulator, Ofcom, has decided that managing spectrum is a drag, and there are other people around that might do a better job. It is going to open up 73 percent of the radio spectrum to market forces, and make it technology-neutral and tradeable. So if one technology gets superseded, another one can get rolled out instead (subject to broadcast power limits) without Ofcom having to define what spectrum it should use. Radio was first regulated here 100 years ago this year, and a new regime is needed to fit new radio technology. Ofcom is quite proud to be ahead of the US on this one, because we have a recent Communications Act, and the FCC is 'hamstrung' by old laws - at least that's what the head of research at Ofcom said."
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UK to Privatize Radio Spectrum?

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  • by barcodez ( 580516 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:00PM (#10903600)
    because privatising british rail and british telecom went so well.
    • I'll give you British Rail.

      No problem at all.. I commute from Brighton to the City every day. Horrid.

      But BT? I would say that was a fairly succesful privatisation non?

      • But BT? I would say that was a fairly succesful privatisation non?

        Not from the point of view of the telecom engineers- who quickly lost most of their jobs to India.
        • Dang.. that daily commute from India to fix Ms. Johnstone's phone line must be a bitch.
          • Nah- the commute is from the BT-paid for condo where he lives with 56 other technicians in a 4-bedroom flat, and of course any salary he makes after detuctions is paid in Rupees and sent back to feed his 19 kids in India. :-) Come on- we've had ex-BT people in the H-1b forums for three years now.
    • Re:Great idea... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by t_allardyce ( 48447 )
      They're just going to privatise the air traffic control spectrum, police, emergency services, trains and military because 'private companies' are much more efficient at handling it dont you know? what could possibly go wrong?
    • Re:Great idea... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gcaseye6677 ( 694805 )
      How would a publicly run British Telecom be any better? They would have no incentive to update technology since there would be no competition. You would be stuck with a very reliable big black rotory dial phone.
      • Re:Great idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Snart Barfunz ( 526615 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:16PM (#10903757)
        Exactly - just look at the BBC still broadcasting in mono to steam powered bakelite radios. Privatising them would force them to embrace new technology like TV, digital radio and the web.
        • Re:Great idea... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gcaseye6677 ( 694805 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:24PM (#10903863)
          Why is the BBC interested in keeping up with the times? Ah competition, that would be it. There are other stations which everyone would watch if BBC wasn't interesting enough (in a relative sense. I know, it's British TV we're talking about here.) Anyway, a publicly owned BT would be a monopoly, since it's hard enough to have a competing phone company even without a government owned monopoly. I highly doubt they would realistically allow for a competitor, so they would have every excuse to stagnate and become someone's political empire where they could hire their friends into cushy guaranteed government jobs.
          • BT did have a competitor. Mercury Telecommunications. In the 80s the Government paid Mercury an undisclosed sum of money to put in its 'figure of eight' backbone to cover the entire country, and while it was never as big as BT, it made its mark. Mercury was heavily publically subsidised to setup operations, but it was a 100% privately owned company, and it had preferential access to BTs local loop, a lot more than BTs competitors do now.
          • Why is the BBC interested in keeping up with the times? Ah competition, that would be it.

            Help me out here. I'm not British, so I don't know how this works, but what incentives (I assume financial) are there to encourage the BBC to chase ratings? Is their income varied based on ratings? Who does the audit?

            • They have a charter, every so often so they have to say what they will be doing until the next review period and if they are judged not to have lived up to their promises they will be discontinued.

              I think there is also an independant guidance commitee who can tell them off.

              However I presume the main incentive for them is the drive to do a good job and produce quality output ( in this light a lot of their output is puzzling mind you ! ).
            • Re:Great idea... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Wanderer2 ( 690578 )

              but what incentives (I assume financial) are there to encourage the BBC to chase ratings?

              If the BBC's ratings fall away, it becomes harder and harder to justify the license fee we pay them. Every few years, the government renews the charter that, amongst other things, gives the BBC authority to collect fees. If the BBC was unpopular, the government wouldn't find it hard to alter the charter at the next renewal. One major incentive is their continued existance!

              Of course, they can't go too far. One of the o

        • Thanks ALOT!
          I can't stand all these free market fans "it is proven that it works better and will give the most efficient solution". BS. Nothing is proven, except maybe in some chosen economic theory with some chosen premises.
          The free market is a damn, often a damn good *tool*, but not more than that.

          Of course, to have a government that provides good services, it needs oversight by the citizens but that's, well, the purpose of a democracy/republic...

          Then there is reverse influence of corporations on the go
          • But on the other side, I can't stand all these statist managed market fans thinking that the government is some miraculous economic powerhouse.
            • Didn't you know? Governments never make mistakes!

              Except, you know, for that whole "war in Iraq" thing which the same statists protest endlessly... But just because the state can't plan for war and peace, that doesn't mean the state could screw up planning an economy!

              *rolls eyes*
        • Re:Great idea... (Score:2, Informative)

          by Syriloth ( 525273 )
          Who the hell moderated this "+5 Insightful?" It's clearly "+5 Funny."
      • Re:Great idea... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        If BT was publicly run we'd still be using the same old telephone lines, paying the same rates for phone calls, and using some horrible hack for our internet access like ADSL. Whereas now it's private it's got competition from all those other major telephone companies. No wait, my mistake, there aren't any other major telephone companies. Still we've got OFTEL to stop them abusing their position to stifle competition. No wait, my bad, they don't.
      • Re:Great idea... (Score:3, Interesting)

        They would have no incentive to update technology since there would be no competition.

        You're confusing "state-owned" and "monopolistic".

        France Telecom is still a state owned company, yet broadband is more developed in France than in the UK. [bbc.co.uk]

        Note that here we're talking about broadband in general, including cable, on which telcos have no influence. If we only talk about DSL, France simply dwarfs the UK in absolute numbers, percentage and growth, as can be seen on this graph. [ovum.com] (France and the UK both have
    • Would you prefer a government run rail like Amtrak in the US?
  • stagnate (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LordMyren ( 15499 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:02PM (#10903613) Homepage
    technology consortiums will buy spectrum for their technology
    and when the technology grows old and die
    what corporate shareholder would sever the last limb propping up a technology?
    • Re:stagnate (Score:5, Informative)

      by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:16PM (#10903752)
      The UK government has the ability to seize back the privatised items if they are convinced that the privatisation was not successful longterm. This is what stops private companies from sitting on public resources. For example, British Rail was privatised at the start of the 1990s, with the actual physical rail network being sold to a private company called Railtrack, which the government had a shareholder interest in. In 2001 it was determined that Railtrack was not carrying out its job correctly and seized back the UK rail network after having a UK court agree, placing it in control of a public company called Network Rail. For those of you that think this is 'bad', this _is_ the agreement these companies entered into when they purchased the privatised utilities.
      • Re:stagnate (Score:3, Insightful)

        The UK government has the ability to seize back the privatised items if they are convinced that the privatisation was not successful longterm.

        Newsflash: most governments, but especially the US' and the UK's these days, are corrupt and owned by the very corporations they should be controlling and regulating. Didn't you ever ask yourself why the railways are still privatised after all these years when any moron can see it's a certified disaster? Well, that's why...
        • The government has actually taken over the running of several of the franchises, with positive results. A lot of the other franchises are doing quite well actually, with a lot of problems being solved after Railtrack was taken over again.
          • Re:stagnate (Score:2, Informative)

            by aslate ( 675607 )
            Connex [South Eastern] lost the rail franchise for the South East of England, they were a shoddy company and their service was pretty poor. I remember a whole winter of cancelled trains to school. It was so bad, our school just stopped their "4 lates" punishments, as it was just impratical over this period.

            Once their franchise was lost, the Government took over running of the South East railways setting up South Eastern Trains. The service is pretty good, there's a new fleet of trains on the way, the stati
    • Whoever offers them money?

      There are definitely operating costs, which will leverage the bargaining, and if the operating costs are zero, they forfeit the spectrum.
  • by WalterDGeranios ( 678649 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:02PM (#10903617)
    This is a good idea, as long as there will be a natural resource tax to reduce hoarding and speculation.
  • by SoupGuru ( 723634 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:05PM (#10903643)
    Just remember everyone, just because you *can* make money off it means you *should*, right?
    • You should definitely make money off of the spectrum just because you can. But mainly this article is about better managing the spectrum for the rollout of new technology. The united states FCC is quite crappy at it, and they need to revise it as they have.
      • From the linked essay:

        It isn't the reasonable men who seek profit, only an idiot would seek to control more than he and his family can reasonably consume in a lifetime.

        So, people who run businesses--which if they're successful, often involve the control of resources whose value collectively is more than a family can reasonably consume in a lifetime--are idiots? I wouldn't want to be a consumer or someone looking for a job in the author's ideal world.
        • So, people who run businesses--which if they're successful, often involve the control of resources whose value collectively is more than a family can reasonably consume in a lifetime--are idiots?

          Yep- because they are sacrificing what is really important for something that isn't important at all. I've known far too many people who put their lives into successfull businesses- to the detriment of their families and friends, and eventually, to thier own destruction when they can no longer manage the growth o
  • Ham radio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sygiinu ( 226801 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:08PM (#10903662)
    I hope they make provision for the amateur bands and we (radio enthusiasts) don't have to club together to buy them. I wonder if licenses will be required still?
    • Oh, I am quite certain that the government will forgo making some money auctioning off radio spectrum to help a small and politically insignificant group. Having said that I hope they do but for some reason I have my doubts. I seem to grow more cynical about governments with each passing year.
      • I am quite certain that the government will forgo making some money auctioning off radio spectrum to help a small and politically insignificant group.

        Politically insignificant my ass (or arse if you prefer). At least in the United States, the emergency cleanup efforts after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center relied on the U.S. amateur radio network, and British hams could use the threat of further terrorism on British soil as a bargaining chip to keep their access to spectrum.

        • I certainly didn't mean to imply that I thought they were insignificant. I was merely saying that there aren't a lot of votes there for the pols. So I would be surprised if the hams get much consideration.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:08PM (#10903666)
    Latest news:

    At least seven ham radio operators have died, and over 70 CB operators injured during a routine QSO on 10m between London and Kings Lynn. It is reported that one of the side band of the AM transmission derailled off the airwave and careened into the 11m band, injuring many CB operators. The hams QSOing on 10m were found dead, but one of them managed to write "WHERE IS THIS COUNTRY GOING TO? ARRRRGGHHH I DIE...." with his own blood on his contact map.
  • About time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:09PM (#10903679)
    It's about time someone did this. There's no reason for the airwaves to be publicly owned. "Public ownership" of a resource means that all decisions about a resouce have to occur in the context of politics. All decisions are political decisions.

    If the group that wants censorship has more votes than the group that doesn't want censorship, then there'll be censorship.

    When a private entity owns something, decisions are made based on the ideals of the private entity. If you don't like the decisions made about the resource, you can buy your own.

    It works for land. It'll work for the airwaves. Nice job UK.
    • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:14PM (#10903739)
      It's about time someone did this. There's no reason for the airwaves to be publicly owned.

      You HAVE to be joking...

      Public ownership of the airwave exists because, in reality, no-one can own it in the first place. In fact, it's not owned at all, just regulated (i.e. Big Brother slaps you on the fingers if you annoy your radio neighbours).

      It's just like air and oceans, you know. You can't really own it, just manage it, because it's everybody's and nobody's at the same time.
      • You can't really own it, just manage it, because it's everybody's and nobody's at the same time. - aha, that kind of thinking exactly worked great for the former USSR, why, they are still around to boast their might. Oh wait, no they are not. Everything belonged to noone and to everyone at once, so amazing management possibilities opened up if you know what I am talking about...

        • Don't be silly. Most things can be privately owned, but certain things, the commons, cannot. It's not communism, it's just the way it is. Just like, in your family, you can't run in the kitchen, grab the fridge and claim it's yours: it's not, it's your family's, and you'd hurt your family, and therefore yourself, if you claimed it yours. You have every right to own your own stereo and clothes however. I don't see where's the commie thinking in that...
        • aha, that kind of thinking exactly worked great for the former USSR,

          Uh, no it didn't. Leninism required the State to OWN everything, not merely manage it- it amazes me how few capitalists undertsand tribalism and communalism isn't necessarily communism.
          • Oi, wei, malchik, if you hear this sound: swoooosh, above your head, that was sarcasm in my post. I give lessons in dark humour, only 1 soul per course.

            • Hint- e-mail and blogs are essentially autistic media, tones of voice and emotions are stripped away. That's what emoticons and sarcasm tags are for :-)
              • You can't really own it, just manage it, because it's everybody's and nobody's at the same time. - aha, that kind of thinking exactly worked great for the former USSR, why, they are still around to boast their might. Oh wait, no they are not. Everything belonged to noone and to everyone at once, so amazing management possibilities opened up if you know what I am talking about... - no, sarcasm is in there, no tags needed.

    • Re:About time (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:14PM (#10903744) Homepage Journal
      I'm not sure privatization of LAND was a good idea (I have a great many ancestors on one side of the family that would consider the privatization of land to be the single stupidest idea that the White Man brought to America). It has lead to hoarding and a large number of homeless people. Why do you think the privatization of the airwaves will be any different?
    • Re:About time (Score:4, Insightful)

      by k4_pacific ( 736911 ) <k4_pacific@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:20PM (#10903813) Homepage Journal
      At least with "public ownership" you can vote, hold office, campaign, and otherwise affect policy. With private ownership, you are pretty much SOL if things aren't going your way and you don't have the purchasing power to make a difference.
      • Get a group of people who agree with you. Pool your meager cash and buy something.

        But what if your opinion is in a tiny minority with no resources so you can't even collectively raise the funds to buy anything? Then how much political influence did you have when the public owned the airwaves? Not much.
    • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xiph ( 723935 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:23PM (#10903842)
      Because private ownership is so much better?
      The problem with private ownership of the bandwidths will in my opinion be that it hampers innovation by anyone else but those who own the bandwidth. And you will rely on that one vendor for producing anything within the bandwidths they own.
      This does not pose a problem in itself though, but my guess is that a few big companies will obtain ownership of an unproportionally large portion of the bandwidth(s) to monopolize certain types of services.
      Remember we're not just talking the transistor radio frequencies but the entire non-military range of frequencies.

      soon in the news: Berlusconi's Italy follows ofcom example and ...
    • Re:About time (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @07:07PM (#10904323) Journal
      Kohath quoth:

      ...you can buy your own.


      Not bloody likely given the billions (with a 'B') probably needed to control a block of spectrum at a high power output(see sales of wireless spectrum that occurred in U.S. earlier this year).

      I doubt they will let Joe Blow buy a particular range of spectrum for low-power use in the few miles surrounding his abode. Low power spectrum, as established recently in the U.S. is having problems due to bleed over from nearby stations - endangering business models for the small guys.

      Privatization is no panacea.
    • Yes, it obviously works fine for land, which is why so much private land is still preserved and pollution doesn't run rampant in industry owned areas. I especially love how clean things are when even the privately owned land is not carefully regulated. I mean, I go down for a dip near the coal plant every weekend with the kids because it's just so damn safe.
    • Re:About time (Score:3, Informative)

      by joib ( 70841 )

      It works for land.


      To an extent. As such, I see no wrong with private ownership, private entities can probably manage their land more efficiently than the government. However, there is certainly the moral case to be made that as land, or natural resources (land, minerals, spectrum, etc.) more generally, was here long before man, no single man has the right to said resource. Thus the government can fairly tax these resources heavily, up to the rental value of the resource (and in the process reduce other,
    • Re:About time (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mpe ( 36238 )
      There's no reason for the airwaves to be publicly owned. "Public ownership" of a resource means that all decisions about a resouce have to occur in the context of politics.

      Private corporations are no less political than governments. Indeed it may be a worst situation, since the political positions of corporations may be rather less obvious than those of political parties...

      If the group that wants censorship has more votes than the group that doesn't want censorship, then there'll be censorship.

      It woul
  • by Evil W1zard ( 832703 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:10PM (#10903685) Journal
    BT is going to sue Google because it links to documents about frequencies they own and ways to degrade those frequencies!
  • Or can I buy up 2.4ghz and be a total bastard by making everyone else turn their transmitter off?

    This would be great news as the guy next door is cutting down on my range and THE GOIT MUST BE STOPPED! I MUST BE ABLE TO SURF THE WEB FOR FREE AT THE PUB! THE WORLD WILL BE MINE! *foam frothes from mouth*
  • Over here (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ch-chuck ( 9622 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:12PM (#10903720) Homepage
    I'm sure Clear Channel would make a great replacement for the FCC.

    But seriously - how do you create a fair competitive market environment for all while treading the line between fascist govt control and private industry monopolization. As much as our politico's thump the podium about 'free markets' they simply allow single entities to get away with abuse of an advantage to corner entire winner-take-all markets that's anything but free.

    • Re:Over here (Score:4, Informative)

      by k4_pacific ( 736911 ) <k4_pacific@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:25PM (#10903877) Homepage Journal
      It is worth noting that Benito Musoulinni (sp?) who invented Fascism described it as the merger of state and corporate power. In this sense, Fascism refers to corporate control of government rather than the other way around. Thus "fascist govt control" and "private industry monopolization" are hardly opposites.
    • I'm sure Clear Channel would make a great replacement for the FCC.

      Well it already has replaced the FCC, or at least its lackeys have, bought and paid for by Clearchannel.
    • But seriously - how do you create a fair competitive market environment for all while treading the line between fascist govt control and private industry monopolization.

      Set a fairly low limit on the max power allowed to transmit for any transmitter, plus similar limits on the total coverage of the spectrum that any controlling entity can own. The government's sole role will be to make sure that people don't violate these rules, plus abide by the restrictions of the chunk of spectrum that they have purchase

  • Thatcher lives! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drwho ( 4190 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:12PM (#10903721) Homepage Journal
    The undead Thatcher moves again, strinking out with lines of great opportunities for corruption and hate. Oh yes, the poll tax, and now the spectrum wholesaling. What will happen to ham radio? what will happen to public broadcasting? what will happen to unlicensed spectrum?
    • You do know that Margaret Thatcher (our best PM ever) isnt actually dead, so she cant be undead (in the strictest sense of the term)? Infact shes just taken up a Baronet title to sit in the House of Lords. And the current sitting Government is a completely different political party to Ms Thatcher.
    • The undead Thatcher moves again, strinking out

      And just how does she "strink"? Is that like "striking" and "slinking" at the same time?

      with lines of great opportunities for corruption and hate.

      You didn't happen to write the dialogue for Zero Wing, did you?

  • In ontinued government regulation is absolutely intrinsic in any plan to grant "owners" exclusive usage rights to their "property". At whose expense? Well, any non-commercial, public use of radio spectrum that might not be able to afford to participate in your Communications Ministry's fundraising program.

    Incidentally, the UK is in no way "ahead of the curve" relative to the US FCC in this regard. The FCC has been auctioning off massive amounts of spectrum to the highest bidder for at least the last ten
  • Applause (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ggeezz ( 100957 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:15PM (#10903745)
    I think we have to applaud them on this move. The current regulations and allotments of the FCC are severely holding back wireless technology in the US. If only a few antiquated technologies were put out to pasture we could have high-speed wireless connections that weren't line-of-site and whose ranges weren't severely hampered. Not to mention a slew of other ideas that can't make it off the ground because existing (mis)uses of spectrum don't allow enough bandwidth for innovation.

    By the way, the existing telephone and media companies love the fact that this situation is hampering new innovations. Only time will tell if the UK's decision is a step in the right direction, but at least it's a step.
    • The current regulations and allotments of the FCC are severely holding back wireless technology in the US.

      I must say, I find this commonly-used excuse, baseless. 802.11 is already using 2 different bands, and the less crowded one, is the less popular one...

      The CB bands are wide open, and still unused by any wireless networking technology I've seen, even though it would easily give people the long-range connections they want.

      If only a few antiquated technologies were put out to pasture we could have hig

  • by Saeed al-Sahaf ( 665390 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:20PM (#10903799) Homepage
    I wonder if this will end up like IP blocks where some behemoths buy up huge blocks but only use a fraction. I suspect the companies that buy up all the spectrum will rule over it like a third world dictator.
  • So goodbye... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Snart Barfunz ( 526615 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:20PM (#10903808)
    In this order...
    Ham radio
    Community radio stations
    BBC local stations
    Ad-free radio
    BBC national stations
    Leaving -
    ClearChannel
    Pirate radio

    I can't wait
    • I sometimes wonder what will happen once most major cities get ubiquitous wireless internet. I suspect someone will market a "URL radio" that can play from any streaming audio in the car.

      Within a few years, ClearChannel will be gone! What a glorious day that will be.
  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:32PM (#10903929) Homepage
    ...the Environment Agency has announced plans to privatise the air, opening as much as 73 percent of it to market forces to determine how to distribute it throughout the UK, and what it should be used for.
  • 630nm? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:38PM (#10903984) Homepage Journal
    How much does it cost to buy "RED" (a band around 630nm wavelength)? I want to rent the "X" in the Union Jack to the Queen.
    • 47.5 Terahertz. Good luck to you, but I"ve got dibs on Green. All those plants are gonna pay through the nose to me, oh yeah.
      • Green is the biggest band in the visible spectrum. Maybe "indigo", the coolest is also the cheapest (next to violet).
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:43PM (#10904025) Homepage Journal
    They should let Enron run the spectrum marketplace. They're so efficient, smart and honest, and Enron needs a new mission, what with that Iraq pacification taking so long.
  • by randall_burns ( 108052 ) <randall_burns&hotmail,com> on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @06:44PM (#10904043)
    It wasn't clear from the article what the process of privatization would be. The US originally granted (free of charge) large blocks of spectrum to private companies that had done nothing much in the way of the R&D that had made the spectrum valuable-that was a classic case of corporate welfare [thirdworldtraveler.com].


    Now, it would be rather different if there is an _auction_ of the spectrum. The other issue is how long the licenses last(I favor shorter term licenses)-and what is done with the revenue from the auction. I personally think part of the revenue from the auction of spectrum should be used to reward the inventors that make spectrum more useful-and the rest should help lower the worst taxes.


    The last thing we need is another boondoggle to make the rich richer.

  • Great idea of the British. Unfortunately other EU-countries are not that far yet. So instead of a harmonized market it becomes disharmonized. Gives the French another reason not to harmonize their spectrum use
  • The spectrum should be all wi-fi network . This would solve alot of problems. It would operate like the internet. The internet is the best analogy. It needs to be regulated by a consortium .

    Selling it the QVCs' and Clearchannels' of this world will only bring censorship and political propoganda which is going on right now.

    We in the U.S. need independence with integrity.
  • One of the useful functions of the FCC is that they set technical standards for spectrum users. They often force spectrum users to use new and improved technology that makes more efficient use of the available spectrum. This allows more people to use the same amount of spectrum, at the cost of making radios more expensive.

    Market forces are not a cure-all, as the AM Stereo debacle illustrated.

  • Oh, the terror of the free-market! It will ruin us all! It will eat our children, destroy our homes, and convert our wives to to satanic beastiality! Oh my gawd!!

    Yeah, because the FCC has done such a superb job [com.com] (of spectrum-allocation, among other things). Riiiight...

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