Michael Calabrese, director of the Public Assets Program at the New America Foundation, said the FCC should keep a chunk of spectrum open in an unlicensed commons. He asked the congressional staffers in attendance to consider spectrum uses that would allow companies and governments to "dynamically share these underutilized bands."
Soon, smart devices will be able to pick which bands of spectrum to use at any given moment, based on traffic and interference, he said. "Just as public highways are more efficient than privately operated toll roads, smart radios will allow us to evolve the airwaves to a system of open and shared assets," Calabrese said.
David Siddall, a lawyer with Janofsky and Walker LLP and former chief of spectrum management at the FCC, agreed with Calabrese in the value of a commons model of spectrum use, saying unlicensed wireless spectrum can give the public the best benefit in many cases. "Why is unlicensed being talked about today?" he asked. "Because it gets needed services to the public cheaper and more efficiently."