The Liberalization of Infrastructure
Edited by Matthias Finger and Rolf W. Künneke
1 William H. Melody and Wolter Lemstra INTRODUCTION The radio spectrum is the universe of frequencies that can be used for a variety of types of electronic communication through the air, ranging from opening garage doors to the provision of emergency services and researching outer space. Specific frequencies are allocated by national and international spectrum authorities for particular uses, including the provision of telecommunication (telecom) services to the public. Prior to the recent era of telecom reform, the primary spectrum uses in telecom were for the local, national and international transmission of radio/television broadcast signals and the long-distance transmission of voice telephony by incumbent telecom operators using microwave technology. In recent years, the explosive growth of mobile voice and data services and the Internet for a continuously increasing variety of services has created an ever-expanding demand for more frequencies to be allocated for the provision of these services. Thus, spectrum management, which used to be seen as a technical matter of no great consequence that could be best left to the engineers in an environment where the supply of available frequencies could comfortably accommodate new demands, has been transformed into a major economic and policy matter in an environment where new demands exceed supply and the historic policies and practices of spectrum management have been called into question. The reform of spectrum management has been at the heart of the telecom reform process as it is directly associated with the increasing role of all forms of mobile communication. Like other...
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