Networks and Infrastructure


Wireless networks allow users to access telecommunications and the Internet while on the move. The wireless devices operate on the electromagnetic spectrum, which is a finite resource. The allocation and assignment of spectrum, particularly given the burgeoning demand for wireless access to the Internet, poses a unique set of policy decisions for regulators worldwide.

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TAP Blog

Professors Ilya Segal and Jonathan Levin, both with Stanford University, are two of the leading experts in auction theory and implementation chosen by the Federal Communications Commission to design the unprecedented broadcast spectrum incentive auction. Professors Segal and Levin graciously shared their expertise and time with TAP in order to explain the reverse and forward auctions, the components that they are directly involved with.
Google has announced a plan to sell Motorola to Lenovo for just under three billion dollars. Professor Shane Greenstein, Northwestern University, explains how this business transaction is connected to the Nortel patent bidding war held by a bankruptcy court two years ago.
TAP scholars have been studying wireless spectrum issues since before the FCC began to use auctions as a way to assign the right to use spectrum (in the 1990s). Included in this post are select articles to help explain some of the tech-policy issues with spectrum allocation, auctions, and policies.
Geoffrey Manne, International Center for Law & Economics at Lewis and Clark College, discusses the debate surrounding the upcoming FCC auction of lower frequency spectrum.
The jockeying for spectrum bandwidth continues. Technology news stories from the last few weeks reported on multiple wireless telecommunications companies pursuing mergers and acquisitions in efforts to acquire spectrum. A report from a Silicon Flatirons’ conference on spectrum policy provides an overview to the panelist and speaker discussions about the long-term technology trends that are driving spectrum policy.
Stanford scholar Gregory Rosston, an expert on competition in local telecommunications, auctions, and spectrum policy, released a paper earlier this year that examines the supply of wireless spectrum capacity. In addition, “Increasing Wireless Value: Technology, Spectrum, and Incentives” proposes ways for the government to promote spectrum efficiency.
During the May 9 State of the Mobile Net panel, “Mobile Location: The Policies of Where,” expert panelists discussed the potential advantages and pitfalls of mobile phone location services as related to privacy issues and how these issues are affecting consumers and Congressional decisions.
During last week’s 9th Annual State of the Net Conference, one of the panels tackled the question, should Congress rewrite the Telecom Act? TAP Scholar Christopher Yoo, University of Pennsylvania Law School, was among the panelists.
The FCC is set to consider two apparently forthcoming Notices of Proposed Rulemaking that will shape the mobile broadband sector for years to come. It’s not hyperbole to say that the FCC’s approach to the two issues at hand — the design of spectrum auctions and the definition of the FCC’s spectrum screen — can make or break wireless broadband in this country.
Many of us carry tracking devices everywhere we go. Nevertheless, Americans want protections against private and public sector access to mobile phone data.
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Fact Sheets

Wireless and Mobile Communications

Wireless or “mobile” devices send information one-to-one (like mobile phones), one-to-many (like AM or FM radio), or many-to-many (like Wi-Fi Internet access). Wireless devices send and receive signals along the electromagnetic spectrum in the form of waves similar to visible light or sound.


Contact Tracing – The Privacy Vs Urgency Dilemma for Governments in the Fight Against COVID-19

“Either you have a system unlikely to help people navigate their world, to leave their house and feel safe, or you have privacy trade-offs.”
 — Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington
M. Ryan Calo
South China Morning Post
June 4, 2020

Featured Article

On the Application of Blockchains to Spectrum Management

Blockchain technologies could help operators and users of the electromagnetic spectrum coordinate their activities. Challenges include device power limitations and blockchain system capacity constraints.

By: Kevin Werbach