Estimates of Economic Value Generated by Contracting Radio Exclusion Zones in the 1695-1710 MHz Band

12 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2015

See all articles by Jeff Ward-Bailey

Jeff Ward-Bailey

University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Engineering and Applied Science, Students

Jean Pierre De Vries

University of Colorado at Boulder Law School - Silicon Flatirons Center

Date Written: September 14, 2015

Abstract

This paper estimates the economic value of contracting protection or exclusion zones for three polar weather satellite earth stations in the 1695 MHz–1710 MHz band located in Suitland, MD; Miami, FL; and San Francisco, CA.

In 2010 President Obama directed the Secretary of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to make 500 MHz of spectrum available within the next decade for wireless broadband use. As part of its “fast track report” responding to the President’s request, the NTIA identified 1695–1710 MHz as one a number of candidate bands. The fast track report calculated exclusion zones – radii surrounding satellite earth stations in which commercial operation would be disallowed.

Subsequently a working group within the NTIA’s Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) conducted more detailed work on the exclusion zones. The CSMAC working group refined the analysis whereby the radii were calculated, shrinking those radii in the process. It also recommended converting the exclusion zones to protection zones in which certain commercial activities could be permitted if they were coordinated beforehand with federal uses. The purpose of this paper is to estimate the economic value of the reduction of the radii, treating the smaller protection zones as if they were exclusion zones to simplify the analysis.

This paper uses a rough population-based methodology, under which the value of a given spectrum license is assumed to be directly proportional to the number of people who can be served by that license. Population is assumed to be evenly distributed across the given area. Though this approach is obviously imprecise, it suffices to give an order-of-magnitude estimate of the economic value that would be created by shrinking exclusion zones and converting them to protection zones. It also treats exclusion zones and protection zones as functionally identical because it does not seek to generate precise dollar figures that would entail valuing the option of operating inside a protection zone.

This paper’s findings may contribute to the deliberations of the Federal Communications Commission Technological Advisory Council (FCC TAC) working group exploring how risk-informed interference assessment, and particularly quantitative risk assessment rather than worst-case analysis, can inform spectrum sharing or spectrum allocation questions. The calculations contained in the NTIA’s fast track report were based on worst-case or at least very conservative assumptions. CSMAC’s assumptions were less conservative, for example using a realistic distribution of transmit power values for interfering mobiles rather than the maximum in all cases. This paper thus estimates the economic value generated by the change in method.

Keywords: spectrum, worst-case analysis, FCC, satellite earth stations, protection zones, exclusion zones

Suggested Citation

Ward-Bailey, Jeff and De Vries, Jean Pierre, Estimates of Economic Value Generated by Contracting Radio Exclusion Zones in the 1695-1710 MHz Band (September 14, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2660515 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2660515

Jeff Ward-Bailey (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Engineering and Applied Science, Students ( email )

Boulder, CO
United States

Jean Pierre De Vries

University of Colorado at Boulder Law School - Silicon Flatirons Center ( email )

1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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