Radio Spectrum policy and the Digital Dividend auction process

Radio Spectrum policy and the Digital Dividend auction process,  describes the policies and means of clearing airwaves, (radio frequencies) and then auctioning the right to use (transmit and receive signals) on those radio frequencies to those wishing to run mobile voice and data services.
In 2000 – 5 companies including  Vodaphone/ BT paid £22.4bn for the right to use 5 particular radio frequency blocks for a 20 year period.  None of this money was re-invested,  and the coverage obligations 80% were not onerous.  In addition Ofcom collects about £240m a year in other spectrum fees,  none of which is re-invested,  and all of which increases unit costs.  The EU reckon the 2000 auction added 2p a minute to the cost of every mobile call made in the last decade.
The government is proposing to release an additional tranch of radio frequencies,  and auction these to the highest bidder.  The process has been consulted upon and legislation is ready for a post May 6th decision by the new administration.  The consultation process has mitigated both coverage and quality obligations which will boost the value of the auction.
If you treat the electomagnetic radio spectrum as a national resource to carry information, as I do,  then the Government run auction process sells  some of that resource to the highest bidder. The auction process is not engineered to make optimum use of the radio frequencies in delivering information,  but grants a near oligopoply to those controlling the spectrum.
(Note that this natural phenomena that is the electromagnetic spectrum includes visible light- it just operates at a different frequency.)
It is a specialist area,  but most professional radio engineers cry at how sub-optimal the auction process is.  To give an example,  our home routers use unlicensed spectrum – the government was unable to sell this because they use similar frequencies as microwave ovens,  and similar waves cancel one another out.  Today our home routers carry more data for free,  than the entire mobile  infrastructure.  Even athiest radio engineers would describe UK spectrum policy as sinful.  It takes something which is very plentiful and creates scarcity. The priority of policy makers is in competition engineering rather than radio engineering to create a uninversal high quality service.  This waste of resource is done all for the benefit of the taxpayer.
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