May 31, 2000
Media Contact: Bryan Tramont 418-2000
Today's forum convenes some of the country's best and brightest spectrum policy experts to analyze the potential development of secondary spectrum markets. This topic is vitally important to efficient use of spectrum. Secondary markets allow initial allocations to be modified so that spectrum is available to those that value it most.
In a market with full property rights, businesses are fully capable of developing secondary spectrum markets on their own. The government's role is not to identify a particular outcome, but rather to remove impediments to the free functioning of the marketplace. Thus I believe today's forum should most productively focus on removing government barriers to secondary markets, as opposed to creating any new government structures "to make the market work." The market works just fine if government stays out of the way.
Since my appointment to the Commission I have been a strong advocate for increased property rights for licensees. Today's forum represents a potentially important step in that direction. Traditional property rights would increase the flexibility of licensees, while facilitating more efficient distribution of spectrum. Businesses cannot sell what they do not truly own; increased property rights would give parties the ownership certainty they need to allow flexible partitioning and disaggregation in secondary markets.
The development of secondary spectrum markets will require less, not more, FCC regulation. In this regard, I am particularly interested in learning about the possible shortcomings of our existing partitioning and disaggregation rules. Do these rules work? And, if not, why not? I encourage all parties to contribute their thoughts on these rules and other secondary market issues as part of this year's biennial review proceeding. The more rapidly we can remove barriers to secondary markets, the greater the opportunity for higher and more efficient spectrum use.