Of Rainbows and Rivers: Lessons for Telecommunications Spectrum Policy from Transitions in Property Rights and Commons in Water Law

42 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2005 Last revised: 17 Apr 2011

Dale B. Thompson

University of St. Thomas - Department of Ethics & Business Law

Date Written: July 1, 2005

Abstract

A number of industries utilize the telecommunications spectrum to provide billions of dollars of services. However, some have noted that technological development and implementation of spectrum applications have not progressed as fast in the United States as in other parts of the world. To improve technological development, many have recommended significant changes in United States policy of allocating spectrum, some based on a "property rights" approach, and others based on a "commons" approach.

This article takes a novel approach to this problem, by applying lessons from our two hundred year history of water law to spectrum policy. Also, instead of analyzing static characteristics of property systems, this article changes its focus to examine transitions in these systems. Based on a new classification of property, "marketable commons property," this article presents a solution to the allocation of spectrum: spectrum commons accounts.

Keywords: Telecommunications, Spectrum, Water Rights, Transitions, Property Rights, Commons

Suggested Citation

Thompson, Dale B., Of Rainbows and Rivers: Lessons for Telecommunications Spectrum Policy from Transitions in Property Rights and Commons in Water Law (July 1, 2005). Buffalo Law Review Vol. 54, No. 1; William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=770426

Dale B. Thompson (Contact Author)

University of St. Thomas - Department of Ethics & Business Law ( email )

Opus College of Business
MCH 316
St. Paul, MN 55105
United States
651-962-5195 (Phone)

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