IEEE Internet Computing September/October 2006 (vol. 10 no. 5). Thomas W. Hazlett, Professor of Law & Economics, George Mason University School of Law.
The standard approach to radio-spectrum allocation in the US posits three alternative models from which regulators choose (on a case-by-case basis) to impose basic rules for coordinating wireless activities. However, this regulatory framework often yields anticonsumer outcomes. The author argues that public policy should instead permit competitive market forces to allocate airwave rights among rival users. One mechanism for accomplishing this shift is to move away from administrative allocations to a general regime of exclusive property rights.