Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Wirless Spectrum auctions

Clay Shirky writes an interesting column on the economics of 2 countries, Sweden and England, opening up their wireless spectrums to companies for developing. The contrast reminds me of the U.S.'s own experiences in this area. In the original days of broadcasting, the radio companies paid a flat fee for the license to broadcast. Television is the same way. Neither medium has changed that method, though the license prices have gone up over the years. So, when cell phones and other wireless devices came along, why did our government start selling the spectrum to be developed? Does it cost us, the consumers, more in the long run? We pay in higher prices in order to pay off the initial investments plus we pay taxes to the government for our usage. What new services did we receive from the government for it's windfall of cash from the sale of the spectrum? Did such a sale put a vice on the creation of content, as Shirky suggests? (By the way, I just noticed that this is an older column...I wonder if a study has been done since this was written). This was passed on by the good gent at bubblegeneration.

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