Property Analogues in Spectrum Management: Applying Adverse Possession

ITERA Conference

25 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2007

See all articles by Michael Richardson

Michael Richardson

University of Colorado at Boulder - Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program

Karthik Subramanian

University of Colorado at Boulder - Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

As wireless applications continue to grow in value, the radio spectrum will continue to become more contentious. Unfortunately, not all licensed spectrum is being fully used. Indeed, there is some value to speculative "squatting" on spectrum as the FCC moves more toward property-like rights for spectrum licenses. However, inefficiencies in spectrum management reduce the overall public benefits of this vital resource.

The analogy between spectrum licenses and property rights is becoming stronger due to fewer restrictions put on newly auctioned radio spectrum. This paper defends applying the common law doctrine of adverse possession as a means of obtaining license to fallow spectrum. While some argue in favor of full property rights for spectrum management, this is unnecessary to add adverse possession to the spectrum management toolbox. Instead, adverse possession would become another property-like right for spectrum licenses. An adjusted version of adverse possession, as a means of obtaining a spectrum license, would provide a mechanism to motivate potential entrants to seek unused spectrum. As a result, the application of adverse possession would increase the overall public benefit of the wireless spectrum by encouraging efficient uses of the spectrum. This paper also addresses technical and administrative concerns that would arise as a result of adverse possession. Adverse possession could be used as a great tool to encourage utilization of "white spaces." It will also serve as a corrective measure to settle disputes over spectrum licenses at the same time as promoting technological innovation.

Keywords: spectrum management, telecom policy, adverse possession, property rights

JEL Classification: L96, O38, K11

Suggested Citation

Richardson, Michael and Subramanian, Karthik, Property Analogues in Spectrum Management: Applying Adverse Possession (2007). ITERA Conference, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=976757 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.976757

Michael Richardson (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program ( email )

1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Karthik Subramanian

University of Colorado at Boulder - Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program ( email )

1070 Edinboro Drive
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
111
Abstract Views
1,165
rank
304,348
PlumX Metrics