CNET Editorial Urges Auctioning TV 'White Space'

There has been recent concern about allowing unlicensed devices to occupy unused television channel spectrum. Maximum Service Television has been working to stop the FCC from allowing unlicensed devices on "unused" TV channels. Also, Charlie Rhodes has outlined the technical reasons for concerns about unlicensed devices on these channels in TV Technology.

Thomas Lenard, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, agrees in his May 16 article that unlicensed devices should not be given access to the "white space." His position is that the FCC should auction off the spectrum to ensure that it is allocated to its highest-valued use. Lenard finds it disappointing that Congress and the technology industry are pushing for the channels to be allocated for unlicensed use.

Lenard said a market allocation regime would do a better job of controlling interference, which is a major concern of broadcasters.

"Under a market regime, a relatively small number of people have the responsibility not to overstep their boundaries. In contrast, under an unlicensed regime, there are likely to be tens of millions of people using approved devices and perhaps some using unapproved devices," Lenard said.