Electromagnetic spectrum – the frequencies on which all voice and data signals are transmitted – has been viewed for decades as a scarce resource and leased to the highest bidder like a piece of valuable real estate. This approach to regulating the use of spectrum, however, is no longer appropriate in a digital age that demands that all citizens have access to means of mass communication.
In CIMA’s latest report, “The Power of Airwaves: The Role of Spectrum Management in Media Development,” Nathalia Foditsch explains how new technologies are changing the way we think about spectrum and how to make use of it. She examines how a “spectrum commons” approach – one that focuses on treating specific bands of spectrum as openly accessible public resources – may foster media pluralism by decreasing barriers to the free flow of information. She also makes some suggestions for how those interested in media development can better engage in the current debates that will shape the future of spectrum policy and regulation.
“How electromagnetic spectrum is managed has an enormous, albeit often overlooked, impact on media development efforts. It effectively shapes the way that the vast majority of media outlets are able to deliver content to the public, directly or indirectly.”