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With the rapid proliferation of wireless devices, enforcement of spectrum rights has come to the forefront of communications policy in recent years. Existing tools, however, may not be adequate to handle this influx of new technologies. New, inexpensive technologies that utilize spectrum present unique challenges for the FCC and operators using wireless spectrum.
To examine these issues, the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship held a conference entitled Spectrum: Next Generation Interference Resolution and Enforcement with experts in the field on September 15, 2016. The participants generally agreed on the need for improvements in the interference dispute resolution process as devices become tightly packed in ever-narrowing bands. Furthermore, as participants discussed, the total number of emitters may be increasing the noise floor, degrading the performance of some devices using the wireless spectrum.
Participants explored ways that enforcement procedures can be improved to limit potential interference. They suggested a series of steps that could be implemented to achieve this goal. These include:
- Decentralizing enforcement to encourage private dispute resolution;
- Exploring the use of automation technology to prevent interference;
- Establishing identification tools for digital devices (e.g. a marker similar to a radio call sign); and
- Transitioning the Commission from an “analog agency” to one that focuses on enforcement in a digital age.
These steps, along with other suggestions detailed in the report, should aid in the process of identifying and preventing interference from occurring.