2014 Spectrum News & Updates

Dear SFC Friends and Supporters,

During the summer months, we make an effort to take stock of what we have accomplished over the last year, and we look ahead to our agenda for the year ahead. In the area of spectrum policy, we are particularly excited about our ability to elevate the policy discourse and make a real impact. This excitement reflects the great work of Pierre de Vries and Dale Hatfield, who are leading our Spectrum Initiative.

The Silicon Flatirons Center Spectrum Initiative is the leading center of wireless spectrum law and policy thought leadership. In terms of setting the policy agenda, the 2012 conference focused on this topic by bringing together a range of thinkers who examined the challenges arising from the reality that all bands of spectrum are currently assigned and the demand for the resource continues to grow at a remarkable pace. The SFC Spectrum Initiative also has taken a comparative perspective, evaluating questions such as how the definition of property rights in water and minerals informs spectrum policy (and vice versa) and how the emergence of real-time markets in water and electric power informs that opportunity in the spectrum context (and vice versa). Indeed, the 2013 spectrum policy conference engaged in a comparative discussion of environment regulation, seeking greater insights on the question of how to best manage “radio spectrum pollution.”

Over the last year, Silicon Flatirons has highlighted the need for enhanced enforcement techniques in managing competing uses of the wireless spectrum. Our February 2014 report, “New Times, New Methods: Upgrading Spectrum Enforcement” focuses on this question and our November 14th conference (with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and CTIA President Meredith Baker, among others), “Getting Beyond Command and Control,” will explore this topic in greater depth. Both discussions reflect our ongoing focus on this issue, dating back to an earlier 2011 Roundtable.

As I look back at the last year, and look forward to the next year, two highlights stand out. First off, our comparative efforts bore real fruit when acclaimed law professor Richard Epstein delivered a tour de force keynote address at our Property Rights conference. Richard is coming back for a March 12, 2015 return visit, focusing on “managing the commons” in spectrum, water, and IP; stay tuned for another command performance. Finally, I had the pleasure of working with Pierre de Vries on a paper for the Hamilton Project, Unlocking Spectrum Value Through Improved Allocation, Assignment and Adjudication of Spectrum Rights, which advanced the harm claim threshold concept Pierre had previously developed and framed an agenda for future research and policy development in this area.

As you reflect on our efforts in the spectrum policy arena, and other efforts to elevate technology policy, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me or Pierre de Vries.



Phil Weiser
Executive Director, Silicon Flatirons Center
Dean, University of Colorado Law School

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