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Looking Back to Look Forward: The Next Ten Years of Spectrum Policy

Silicon Flatirons

Looking Back to Look Forward: The Next Ten Years of Spectrum Policy
Tuesday, November 13, 2012; 1:00 - 6:00 PM
@ Pew Research Center, Washington, DC

Co-Sponsored by Silicon Flatirons Center - A Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, CTIA - The Wireless Association and Public Knowledge
In Cooperation With the Federal Communications Bar Association and IEEE-USA

The regulatory foxtrot - slow, slow, quick, quick, slow - means that participants in the spectrum policy dance need to keep an eye both their current and future partners. Multiple cycles line up this year: it's a century since the sinking of the Titanic and the 1912 Radio Act, ten years since the FCC Spectrum Policy Task Force Report (SPTFR), and the end of a four-year Administration that saw the FCC's National Broadband Plan, a Presidential Memorandum calling for 500 MHz of spectrum to be found for wireless broadband use, and a report of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) about realizing the full potential of government-held spectrum.

It is a time when pressure on spectrum allocations keeps growing due to the drumbeat of new broadband wireless applications, a crowded dance floor with a growing diversity and density of conflicting radio operations, and a crescendo of technologies such as smarter radios and heterogeneous networks. This presents an opportunity to look back at lessons learned, and prepare for challenges of the next four and ten, if not a hundred, years.

Panel 1: The Promise and Problems of Strategic Plans: From the Spectrum Policy Task Force to the PCAST Report
A decade ago, an intensive multi-disciplinary review culminated in ground-breaking staff report that is still often quoted. Recent years have seen similarly ambitious strategic plans from the FCC and the White House: the National Broadband Plan, the President's Memo, and the PCAST report. What lessons can be learned about strategic spectrum planning from the impact and unfinished business of the SPTFR? How should these lessons be applied to the current crop of recommendations?

Panel 2: Reforming US Spectrum Management: Sharing, Reallocation and Other Options
The FCC's National Broadband Plan and the President's spectrum initiative laid out aggressive goals for spectrum reallocation to commercial mobile broadband, and the PCAST report recommended sweeping, long-term reforms of government spectrum management. Sharing has become a serious option. What are the strengths and weaknesses of these proposals; what needs to be added or taken away? What are the prospects for improving the transition from old to new ways of using spectrum for federal and non-federal users.

Panel 3: The View Ahead: Technology opportunities

Regulatory discussions are informed by technology trends, and wireless research continues to open up new policy possibilities. What are the long-term technology trends and constraints that will drive spectrum policy over the next ten years? This panel will lay out what to expect, and when, as we move to ever-denser packing of bands.

[Your blogger is speaking on Panel 1]

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