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Broadband Series: Exploring the Value and Economic Valuation of Spectrum

Broadband Series: Exploring the Value and Economic Valuation of Spectrum
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April 2012
This paper explores the current economic philosophies and public policy debates over spectrum valuation - particularly in light of the overwhelming demand for new spectrum resources for broadband wireless access (BWA) services. It reviews the growing body of thought about valuation, as well as the variables and factors that may change based on situation and location. It also reviews how this process has begun playing out across the world as governments seek to make spectrum available for wireless Internet access. The goal of this paper is to provide some insight into how spectrum value may be assessed in different situations. The stakes have never been higher, considering the increased bandwidth demand for the delivery of mobile broadband and the consequent scarcity of the spectrum resource. Also, the challenges posed by the emergence of market choices (based on national and regional spectrum allocation decisions as well as choices of technology standards) further increases the spectrum valuation complexity. On this point, the need for spectrum harmonization plays an important role; as any potential cross-border interference or adjacent band interference can negatively impact on the economic value of spectrum.

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