12 August 2007

The Real Spectrum Commons

I have referred to radio spectrum as a commons several times in this blog. But there's a problem: since spectrum seems to be rivalrous - if I have it, you can't - this means that the threat of a tragedy of the commons has to be met by regulation. And that, as we see, is often unsatisfactory, not least because powerful companies usually get the lion's share.

But it seems - luckily - I was wrong about spectrum necessarily being rivalrous:

Software defined radio that is beginning to emerge from the labs into actual tests has the ability to render all spectrum management moot. Small wonder that the legal mandarins there have begun to sneer that open source SDR cannot be trusted.

In other words, when you make radio truly digital, it can be intelligent, and simply avoid the problem of commons over-use.

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