Phoenix Center Releases Analysis on 4.9 GHz Spectrum

Earlier this month the Phoenix Center, one of the most prestigious think-tanks, release an economic review of the Public Safety 4.9 GHz spectrum. Here is their public statement along with a link to the full document.

“We would like to call your attention to a new analysis by Phoenix Center Chief Economist Dr. George Ford and Phoenix Center Senior Fellow Professor Michael Stern entitled Policy Failures for Public Safety: New Rules for the 4.9 GHz Band.

By way of background, last fall the Federal Communications Commission issued an Order on Reconsideration and Eighth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish a clear set of rules for public safety spectrum located in the 4.9 GHz band. Among other reforms, the Notice proposes to centralize non-public safety use of the band, which is feasible under preemption by first responders, by a national spectrum coordinator. This nationwide management framework replaces the decentralized approach and the state-level management adopted by the Commission in 2020 (which offered no apparent improvement over its prior decentralized approach).

George and Michael’s analysis shows that the Commission’s proposed centralized national approach has economic support, since the decentralized approach acts as a tax on spectrum use. They also estimate, albeit crudely, that if the Commission designates the FirstNet Authority as the national spectrum coordinator, adding the 4.9 GHz block to the FirstNet Authority would release about $34 billion in Gross Domestic Product and create about 160,000 jobs.

As always, a full copy of Phoenix Center Policy Bulletin No. 55, Policy Failures for Public Safety: New Rules for the 4.9 GHz Band, may be downloaded free from the Phoenix Center’s webpage by clicking here.


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