More About the Spectrum Policy Initiative



Our spectrum policy publications started in 2005 at the latest, with Weiser & Hatfield’s “Policing the Spectrum Commons” in the Fordham Law Review. Former initiative Co-Director Pierre de Vries met Dale Hatfield in 2007, and shortly afterwards they started working with together, in addition to Phil Weiser and Doug Sicker. The first conference was held in 2009 (Reforming the Federal Communications Commission).



Wireless services are becoming ever more important to society. Since this is a heavily regulated industry built on rapidly changing technology, change is rooted in the intersection of policy and engineering.



The initiative helps law and engineering students to understand spectrum policy and engage in related academic and public policy pursuits. It also aims to produce unbiased and innovative technology policy ideas through research, public and private debates, and service in public forums.



  • The initiative supports students through DC internships, courses, and supervising their writing of conference reports, Colorado Technology Law Journal articles, and Technology Law & Policy Clinic filings.
  • Dale Hatfield has co-taught the annual CU Spectrum Management course since 2006. There are typically 18-25 students per year, a mixture of engineering and law students. Spectrum Management course prepares students for the Hatfield Scholars program that has been going for at least 10 years.
  • The Hatfield Scholars Program started in 2007, and provides grants for summer internships in government or public interest positions. It has sent more than 80 students to Washington, D.C. over more than a decade.
  • The DC Summer Program started in 2012, and places student interns in technology-focused private and public organizations and government agencies in Washington, D.C. It has placed 48 students over the past eight years.
  • The initiative organizes at least one conference or roundtable per year, and usually publishes an associated report; see
  • The FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC) was established when Dale was Chief of OET. He was appointed to the Council when he left the agency at the end of 2000, and has served continuously since then. Pierre served on the TAC from 2012 to 2018.
  • Dale Hatfield was the chair of the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) at its inception in 2006. He was co-chair from 2008–2010, and continues to serve on the committee.
  • Dale Hatfield frequently advises government about communication policy. Examples in the last two years include briefing U.S. government officials, cell phone carriers and manufacturers, and CTIA members about work by CU Boulder engineering faculty about spoofing alerts (such as AMBER and Presidential Alerts) in 4G LTE Networks (DOI); and helping a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce (CDLP) to support the Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA) expand and develop 4G wireless services.



  • Influence on DC policy making, including service on Presidential transitions (Hatfield), FCC TAC (Hatfield and de Vries) and Department of Commerce CSMAC (Hatfield), and testimony to Congress
  • A number of concepts that started as Silicon Flatirons conferences and/or Fellow papers were endorsed by the TAC and CSMAC.



  • Increasing the use and value of spectrum by highlighting the role of receivers, antennas and filters.
  • Characterizing and reducing harmful interference, including work on next-generation interference enforcement, and the radio noise floor.
  • Developing techno-regulatory tools to improve spectrum allocation, including harm claim thresholds, allocation principles, and risk-informed interference assessment.
  • Exploring and reducing the vulnerability of radio-enabled services to radio-layer disruption.


Whom does the initiative serve and convene?

  • Law and engineering students, and potentially those in economics, political science, and business.
  • Policy makers and practitioners in Colorado and DC.
  • Wireless industry professionals.
  • Radio engineering professionals in government and industry.


What is the vision for the initiative over the next 5-10 years?

  • Implementation of some of the ideas developed over the last decade.
  • Maturing some of the currently percolating proposals.
  • More capacity to do high quality spectrum policy work, e.g. more students, better continuity, more research fellows, and visiting scholars (DC policy makers in a holding pattern between jobs)
  • A stronger spectrum policy community in the Boulder area.
  • More collaboration with other schools & departments.
  • Greater research & policy impact, including journal and conference papers; research fellows; topic blogging; topic-oriented SFC publication lists that pull together conferences, TAC/CSMAC paper, journal papers, testimony, etc.; and so on.


Events & Publications

  • A series of proposals developed by the Spectrum Policy Initiative (and first aired at Flatirons conferences) have been adopted by the TAC and CSMAC, including:
    • CSMAC 2017, “Enforcement Subcommittee Findings and Recommendations” [pdf]
    • CSMAC 2015, “Enforcement Subcommittee Report” [pdf]
    • CSMAC 2014, “Report, Enforcement Working Group” [pdf]
    • TAC 2016, “A Study to Develop the Next Generation Systems Architecture for Radio Spectrum Interference Resolution” [pdf]
    • TAC 2014, “Interference Limits Policy and Harm Claim Thresholds: An Introduction” [pdf]
    • TAC 2013, “Interference Limits Policy — The use of harm claim thresholds to improve the interference tolerance of wireless systems” [pdf]
    • TAC 2014, “Introduction to Interference Resolution, Enforcement and Radio Noise” [pdf]
    • TAC 2015, “Basic Principles for Assessing Compatibility of New Spectrum Allocations” [pdf]
  • Hatfield, Weiser and de Vries have published a series of papers over the years
  • 19 events organized between 2009 to 2021; see
  • 17 published reports on conferences and roundtables between 2009 and 2021, see
  • Other recent public activities include an FCC podcast that Dale did in July 2019; this was covered in various outlets, particularly those followed by radio amateurs (DuckDuckGo search).


Papers, Articles, Journals

  1. Hatfield & Sicker (2019), “Policy and Regulatory Issues: Internet of Things (IoT) Challenges at the Radio Layer, ” IEEE Internet of Things Magazine (DOI)
  2. De Vries, Livnat & Tonkin (2017), “A Risk-Informed Interference Assessment of MetSat/LTE Coexistence,” IEEE Access (DOI)
  3. Riihijärvi, Mähönen & De Vries (2017), “Statistical Inference on Spectrum Data for Design and Enforcement of Harm Claim Thresholds,”  IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking (pdf)
  4. De Vries (2016), “Risk -informed interference assessment: A quantitative basis for spectrum allocation decisions,” Telecommunications Policy (DOI)
  5. De Vries & Weiser (2014), “Unlocking Spectrum Value through Improved Allocation, Assignment, and Adjudication of  Spectrum Rights,” Brookings (pdf)
  6. De Vries (2013), “Optimizing receiver performance using harm claim thresholds,” Telecommunications Policy (DOI)
  7. Mähönen, Simic, Petrova & De Vries (2012), “From protocol stack to technology circle: exploring regulation, efficiency metrics, and the high-dimensional design space of wireless systems,” IEEE Communications Magazine (DOI)
  8. Weiser (2008), “The Untapped Promise of Wireless Spectrum,” Brookings (pdf)
  9. Weiser & Hatfield (2008), “Spectrum Policy Reform and the Next Frontier for Property Rights,” 15 George Mason Law Review 549 (SSRN)
  10. Weiser & Hatfield (2005), “Policing the Spectrum Commons,” Fordham Law Review (pdf)

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