Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Timothy X. Brown

Second Advisor

Kenneth R. Baker

Third Advisor

Jim Lansford

Fourth Advisor

Thomas Schwengler

Fifth Advisor

Marco Zennaro

Abstract

Electromagnetic spectrum for wireless communications is fully allocated by regulatory authorities, but this does not mean that it is fully utilized. Demand for greater capacity and new services requires new regulatory and technical models for spectrum sharing. This thesis develops a regulatory model denoted the dynamic policy license. The dynamic policy license combines the assurances to licensees that come from holding a fixed license while maintaining regulatory flexibility. A dynamic policy license is similar to a traditional spectrum license that specifies a bandwidth, power, center frequency, location, and other parameters. However, one or more of these parameters is subject to change by the regulator over time. The allowed changes are restricted by the license to provide assurances and predictability to the licensee. The opportunities and challenges that this presents to both regulators and licensees is described.

We examine, retrospectively, the application of the dynamic policy license to the case of Nextel Communications interfering with public safety communications. The resolution required several proposals by the FCC and others and over 2,200 filings by interested parties. Our license proposal is intended to provide flexibility and certainty to a variety of situations, including (1) changes in technology, demand, or use; (2) coexistence between multiple services; and (3) efficient use of spectrum over time.

Spectrum issues such as allocation and allotment, assignment, service rules, and compliance and enforcement continue as contentious management issues. We suggest that existing fixed licensing models are sub-optimal, and in some cases are themselves the source of inflexibility and artificial scarcity. We contribute development of a license model that augments existing approaches across a wide range of governance models and assignment strategies.

Increasing pressure on spectrum resources has prompted new approaches to spectrum sharing and coexistence. A blockchain-based smart contract in conjunction with the dynamic policy license is one approach to managing radio operations and spectrum needs. Smart contracts enable spectrum policies to move beyond static documents to become autonomous, dynamic, self-enforcing, secure, transparent, and auditable code that runs on the blockchain.

Comments

Sixth advisor: Martin B. H. Weiss.

Share

COinS