The Unfinished Radio Revolution: New Approaches to Handling Wireless Interference

Friday, November 12, 2010 - 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
1101 K Street NW 610A
Washington, DC 20005

Read the event summary.

Change is in the air: there are likely to be significant new spectrum allocations as a result of the National Broadband Plan, and the march of technology keeps offering new ways to increase the capacity of wireless systems.

However, the revolution begun by the end of "command and control" radio licensing and the shift to a more hands-off regime of flexible-use auctioned licenses and unlicensed operation is incomplete. For example, while there's wide agreement on the importance of flexible use, the debate over the merits of property rights vs. open access have left largely untouched the important matter of defining the optimal operating permissions and governance regime for any new allocations.

This half-day conference addresses a key unanswered question: How should radio operating rights be defined, assigned and enforced in order to obtain the maximum benefit from wireless operations?

There are clearly problems with cross-channel interference between diverse services. This event is a follow-on to a small-group summit on cross-channel interference at Silicon Flatirons last year that analyzed some of the thorny cases that have arisen. Inter-licensee conflict is greatest across boundaries of different uses, and the increasing diversity of radio uses and users will amplify this problem. The definition of cross-channel rights and responsibilities has, to date, been ad hoc; this approach is no longer sustainable given the increasing diversity of uses and users, and the need to pack operations ever closer together in order to meet the demand for wireless capacity.

This meeting brings together leading economic and legal thinkers to reframe the discussion and grapple with the neglected questions:

  • Not just debating licenses vs. sharing vs. collective use, but designing an optimum rights regime for whichever of these modes is used
  • Not just who should share with whom, but the rules, rights and procedures that would govern and motivate sharing
  • Not just whether spectrum is being used efficiently today, but what kinds of rights and processes would motivate the most intensive use.

Leading scholars and practitioners will advance their proposals, and debate them in two panel discussions. Position papers from each of the presenters will be distributed at the event.

This event is co-sponsored by Silicon-Flatirons, IEEE-USA, CTIA, New America Foundation, and FCBA.


Robert D. Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

The Technical and Commercial Challenge, and a Policy Response

Pierre de Vries, Silicon Flatirons Senior Adjunct Fellow, University of Colorado

Dale Hatfield, Executive Director, Silicon Flatirons Center

Panel 1

Michael Calabrese, Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation

Ellen Goodman, Professor of Law, Rutgers University-Camden

Bruce Jacobs, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Evan Kwerel, Office of Plans and Policy, Federal Communications Commission

Gregory Rosston, Professor, Stanford University


Ari Fitzgerald, Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP

Panel 2

Harold Feld, Legal Director, Public Knowledge

Thomas Hazlett, Professor, George Mason University

Michael Marcus, Marcus Spectrum Solutions LLC

Charla Rath, Vice President - Public Policy, Verizon


Cheryl Tritt, Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP


Pierre de Vries, Silicon Flatirons Senior Adjunct Fellow, University of Colorado

11/12/2010 08:3011/12/2010 12:30America/New_YorkITIF Event: The Unfinished Radio Revolution: New Approaches to Handling Wireless InterferenceInformation Technology and Innovation Foundation, 1101 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005More information: