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Abstract

The United States' traditional command-and-control administration of spectrum distorts technological change, prevents value maximization of spectrum, and delays consumer access to new technologies. Extensive technological change and increased demand for wireless communications have exposed the economic inefficiencies and welfare losses generated by the traditional spectrum administration, and have forced spectrum regulators to begin a gradual deregulation of spectrum licensing. These deregulatory steps have been hesitant and limited To properly prepare the telecommunications sector for current and future technological development, the US. should implement a property rights approach to spectrum. A property rights approach would ameliorate the economic inefficiencies of traditional spectrum regulation by allowing spectrum holders to decide the appropriate use for the spectrum and to transfer the spectrum to other users. Moreover, license holders could protect their spectrum from interference in common-law courts through tort law. Recent experiments in New Zealand and Guatemala reveal that spectrum property rights, when implemented through careful legislation and a sophisticated auction -process, are an immediately viable option for spectrum management

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