Inter-party interference adjudication: Reactions from the spectrum community

Tags: Spectrum Policy / Technology Policy

As the wireless spectrum becomes increasingly crowded, spectrum users face an increased risk of harmful interference caused by other operators. Unfortunately, current enforcement procedures cannot handle this influx of new complaints. In response to the growing problem of enforcement of spectrum interference, the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic (“Clinic”) and Pierre de Vries proposed creating a private right of action for operators which would allow them to bring their claims directly to the Office of Administrative Law Judges for adjudication (inter-party interference adjudication).

For the past few months, [the author has] been talking with interested parties from industry, government, and public interest groups to gauge the reactions to the proposal and the need for updated enforcement processes. While some of their reactions were covered in the initial petition and reply comment, new ideas arose in these discussions that had not been previously addressed. Therefore, this paper examines these new reactions and explains how inter-party interference adjudication would enhance current enforcement procedures by providing clarity to the rules and ensuring that disputes are resolved in a timely, transparent, and fact-based manner.

This paper outlines four possible steps – addressed to different players – for advancing this recommendation: (1) the Commission should move forward on a notice of inquiry, or proposed rulemaking, to solicit and test ways of putting this proposal into practice; (2) parties such as industry groups or companies, public interest groups, or any other group that wish to improve enforcement could decide to form a coalition; and (3) this coalition, and/or others, could prepare a transition document for the new administration recommending enforcement reform actions such as the inter-party interference adjudication proposal. Finally, in support of all of these steps, (4) the Commission should improve disclosure about interference events and disputes it is handling.

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