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Clay Shirky: The Possibility of Spectrum as a Public Good →

Clay Shirky discusses the implications of a possible shift in FCC policy toward spectrum allocation. He hits home in the fourth paragraph:

[Unlicensed spectrum] matters, a lot, because with the spread of unlicensed wireless, the FCC could live up to its mandate of managing spectrum on behalf of the public, by allowing for and even encouraging engineering practices that treat spectrum itself as a public good. A public good, in economic terms, is something that is best provisioned for everyone (an economic characteristic called non-excludability) and which anyone can use without depleting the resource (a characteristic called non-rival use – individual users aren’t rivals for the resource.)