Duke Law Professor Stuart Benjamin on C-Span, discussing his role as the first distinguished scholar in residence at the FCC. Also on the show is Lynn Stanton, senior editor of Telecommunications Reports.
One of the topics discussed is Benjamin’s view on spectrum flexibility, as introduced in his article, Roasting the Pig to Burn Down the House: A Modest Proposal, 7 Journal on Telecommunications & High Technology 95-105 (2009). From the abstract:
[O]ne may regard a set of proposed regulations as foolish and likely to hobble the industry regulated, but perhaps desirable if one believes that we would be better off without that industry. I argue that television broadcasting is such an industry, and thus that we should support new regulations that will make broadcasting unprofitable, to hasten its demise. . . .
Am I serious in writing all this? Not entirely, but mostly. I do think that society would benefit if the wireless frequencies currently devoted to broadcast could be used for other services, and the first-best ways of achieving that goal may not be realistic. I am proposing a second-best - a fairly cynical second-best, but a second-best all the same. I would prefer not to go down this path, but if that is the only way to hasten the shriveling of television broadcasting's spectrum usage, then it is probably a path worth taking.