Spectrum Roundtable Summary, April 22, 2010

Spectrum Roundtable Summary

Theme 1: Administrative Incentive Pricing (AIP) – Theory and Practice

  • UK consultant spoke to AIP, which sets prices equal to the spectrum opportunity cost. This is an annual price set for spectrum that is not auctioned.
  • AIP can be used to set the value of radio licences based on factors such as scarcity and demand for alternate uses in frequency bands where there is excess demand. The price is set high enough to encourage incumbents to return spectrum not being used efficiently.
  • UK has seen a significant return of underused spectrum due to the introduction of AIP with users having returned 100s of MHz of spectrum.
  • Public and private sector representatives spoke against anything more than administrative cost recovery.

Theme 2: Spectrum Trading and Spectrum Usage Rights

  • Clearly defined spectrum usage rights are required to provide licensees with certainty thereby supporting trading by ensuring that both parties have the same understanding of the rights and obligations which are changing hands.
    • These rights can be very difficult to determine: extent of liberalization, how to define the rights, and how to deal with interference.
  • Tradability has links to licence tenure, licence fees and long range planning.
  • The subject of foreign ownership restrictions in Canada's Telecommunication Industry and the impact changes might have on competition and spectrum trading were raised.

Theme 3: The Institutions of Spectrum Management – Time for Change?

  • Canada is in the minority of OECD countries where a ministerial model is also used for spectrum policy, licensing and regulation.
  • Presentations generally restated the Telecommunications Policy Review Panel recommendations, with a new suggestion that as a start, licensing and dispute resolution move to CRTC.
  • Participants indicated that any transfer of some responsibilities to the CRTC or institutional restructuring should not delay the advancement of wireless in Canada, create uncertainty or result in inefficiencies.
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