Should The FCC Be Disbanded?

from the who-needs-it? dept

Some have argued in the past that new technology will make spectrum interference a thing of the past - meaning that spectrum allocation policies won't matter any more. If that's the case, then who needs the FCC? Of course, there are still plenty of spectrum interference issues these days, and an awful lot of legacy issues that would cause problems if spectrum policy was just thrown wide open. Declan McCullough has a somewhat different take on the issue, but comes to the same conclusion that there's no need for the FCC. Instead of just abolishing spectrum allocation, though, he believes it should be entirely privatized, with companies who can buy, own and sell spectrum - and any disputes can be settled in the courts. That sounds great until you remember the years wasted in court fighting over the disputed NextWave spectrum and whether or not it was owned by NextWave, the FCC, or the other carriers the FCC had "resold" it to. What's clear is that we do need a massively overhauled spectrum allocation policy that wasn't created on an "as necessary" basis - but takes into account a much more comprehensive view of what needs to be done with spectrum allocation. The biggest problem with all of this, though, is how to deal with legacy issues - and simply throwing it all open to the courts, will pretty much guarantee that nothing gets done (other than a ridiculous number of lawsuits) for many years.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2004 @ 10:48am

    The FCC's Other Role

    Technical roles like allocating spectrum aren't the FCC's only function. They also regulate content: a political function mostly accomplished indirectly by regulating who gets to broadcast on the "public" airwaves. Especially news broadcasts. Chairman Powell has remarked in interviews that the biggest danger to America he sees from the internet is that it allows people to get "unfiltered" news.
    Of course, federal courts could perform the same function since it is political and not technical in nature.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    alternatives, Jun 7th, 2004 @ 2:20pm

    Ok, I'm game

    he believes it should be entirely privatized, with companies who can buy, own and sell spectrum - and any disputes can be settled in the courts.

    What a wonderful thought!

    Now, who do I sue?

    1) Ham Radio operators - with the ham space gone, who do they sue?
    2) The EM waves passing through my body cause damage - who do I sue for that damage?
    3) If they put the RF wave out there and I decode it, did I 'take' their 'content'?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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