Video explainer: why open spectrum matters, and why you're about to lose it


Don’t worry. I’m sure that the FCC can be trusted to handle this and oppose corporate cronyism, just like with Net Netrality, because …

Oh wait, they can’t be trusted, because their entire existence as a regulatory entity has been about helping their favored companies lock out competition by legally restricting certain areas of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Thus the video misses a key point - the FCC doesn’t allocate anything. The FCC forcibly assumes a government monopoly over the entire electromagnetic spectrum, auctions off licenses to their corporate cronies, and then goes after anyone who uses the spectrum without a license. There is no technical restriction to using any spectrum - the “allocation” process is entirely a legal one, not a physical one. In fact, with even yesterday’s technology, the very concept of allocation is archaic and obsolete. (See all those wifi access points that you and your neighbors are running? Do they interfere with each other very much? Why not? And that’s under the FCC restrictions that were imposed!)

That means that the video is essentially arguing that we should beg the FCC to give up part of the government monopoly they assumed in the first place, and that is the source of their authority and power. That’ll be tough, but it might be doable - and it’ll be the first step to opening up competition in a market where it has been suppressed for decades.

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