Today, TechFreedom filed comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on the role of receiver performance in spectrum management. In these comments, we address policy and legal issues raised in the NOI, including the somewhat limited statutory authority granted by Congress. Bringing receiver performance into the discussion on how to better utilize spectrum assets is long overdue and TechFreedom looks forward to participating in the discussion.

“The FCC cannot fine-tune spectrum management with only half the orchestra,” said James E. Dunstan, TechFreedom General Counsel. “Without engaging government users, there will be little progress made toward finding broad solutions to increased spectrum congestion. The FCC can work to make commercial spectrum users more efficient, but if the government doesn’t deal with highly inefficient legacy government systems, this proceeding cannot achieve its intended purpose. It is as if the FCC were trying to get an orchestra to play in tune by only tuning the string section and ignoring the winds in the last three rows.”

“Government-mandated technical standards often backfire, stifling innovation,” Dunstan continued. “The Commission should be wary about stepping fully into this arena. Regulation and innovation rarely coexist peacefully, as governments aren’t very good at picking winners and losers when it comes to technology. Innovation is inherently messy and not readily amenable to top-down regulation.”

“The Commission should explore other incentives to improve data collection and overall receiver performance,” Dunstan concluded. “The FCC should look at the FCC’s Part 15 authority to require equipment manufacturers to provide information about equipment performance in exchange for receiving the coveted FCC logo. The Commission should explore other innovative solutions to incentivize all parties to improve receiver performance, including revisiting whether something like a ‘Pioneer’s Preference’ could be awarded to innovators in this area.”


We can be reached for comment at Read our related work on spectrum policy, including:

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