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Allocating spectrum : towards a commons future

El-Moghazi, Mohamed and Whalley, Jason and Irvine, James (2012) Allocating spectrum : towards a commons future. In: 2012 IEEE international symposium on dynamic spectrum access networks (DYSPAN). IEEE. ISBN 9781467344470

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Spectrum divide is a consequence of the current spectrum management framework which is locked into a paradigm that is based on assigning spectrum exclusively to a number of operators. This regulatory gridlock is due to resistance from current institutional framework, decision making political economy, and misconception of commons. Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) applications, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) primary allocation for mobile service in the 5 GHz for the implementation of WLAN applications, and operation of Cognitive Radio Systems (CRS) in the TV white spaces have initiated changes to the current framework. The driving forces for CRS deployment are ITU indirect support, pressure on regulators to face the growth in data demand, and benefits to the industry. On the other hand, the undermining forces are the ITU concerns, regulators' constrains, broadcasting deployment, and manufacturing issues. This paper argues that the CRS trigger has initiated a new wave of changes within the current spectrum management framework towards spectrum commons where DSA is enabled in other services' spectrum bands rather than broadcasting. The new spectrum management paradigm would accommodate a new kind of secondary operators that deploy CRS to dynamically access the licensees' spectrum. However, it would be difficult for this new paradigm to evolve towards the spectrum commons paradigm. This is due to the structure of the current spectrum management framework which is in favour of regulators and operators.