Kevin Werbach is a respected independent technology analyst and consultant. He was most recently the editor-in-chief of Release 1.0, and before that led internet policy for the FCC. And, as he puts it, “Almost everything you think you know about spectrum is wrong.”
The assumptions underlying the dominant paradigm for spectrum management no longer hold. Todays digital technologies are smart enough to distinguish between signals, allowing users to share the airwaves without exclusive licensing. Instead of treating spectrum as a scarce physical resource, we could make it available to all as a commons, an approach known as “open spectrum.” Open spectrum would allow for more efficient and creative use of the precious resource of the airwaves. It could enable innovative services, reduce prices, foster competition, create new business opportunities and bring our communications policies in line with our democratic ideals.
A short while back I posted a piece on cognitive radio and open spectrum. Kevin’s paper is a must-read for folks whose interest was piqued by that piece, and who want to better understand the technology and politics of open spectrum. | “Open Spectrum: The New Wireless Paradigm” (PDF) | Interview with Kevin Werbach