Sign In

Communications of the ACM

Research highlights

Technical Perspective: Moving Spectrum

How can you transform the use of radio spectrum from low-value use such as over-the-air television to high-value use such as wireless broadband? A "big bang" response was proposed in the early 2000s. The idea was to use a market in which owners of spectrum could sell their spectrum for new uses by others. But this was plagued with difficulty.

Imagine TV stations as owners of cars in a parking lot. Each wireless company wants to buy a large, contiguous space in the lot. Doing so will create great value. But to succeed, it must buy space from each of a number of stations. And each station will try to seek a huge amount of money for this space! The solution to this "holdout problem" came in a new regulation that gave the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the right to move TV stations to new frequencies. This creates competition. As long as enough stations sell spaces anywhere in the lot then remaining cars can be moved around to create space.


No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.