Policy Papers

The Spectrum Crunch, MSS Spectrum and LightSquared

by and

The MSS spectrum is a valuable resource that is currently being wasted. Moreover, because it is already licensed and doesn’t need to be auctioned, it can be deployed for mobile broadband more rapidly than can other spectrum blocks in the FCC’s inventory.

In the case of LightSquared, a business plan was relatively advanced before it was derailed by the GPS dispute. The FCC should learn from this experience the critical importance of clearly defined rights. The absence of such rights, and therefore a market mechanism for moving spectrum to higher-valued uses, is the cause of the failure to resolve the LightSquared-GPS dispute in an economically efficient manner. In order to minimize the likelihood of similar failures in the future, the FCC should convert all of the MSS licenses to flexible-use licenses.

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