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News Release
March 24, 2004
CONTACT: David Fish
(202) 289-8928

Should Spectrum Be Public or Private?
Experts Debate Future of Spectrum April 15

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Should the electromagnetic spectrum be considered a public good or private property? That is the question sure to inspire spirited discussion at an upcoming April 15 seminar sponsored by The Progress & Freedom Foundation. Framing the debate will be a recent publication by Duke University Professor of Law Stuart Benjamin, "Spectrum Abundance and the Choice Between Private and Public Control." The event runs from noon until 2:00 pm in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 192.

Joining the discussion with Professor Benjamin will be Randolph J. May, senior fellow and director of communications policy studies at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, Peter Pitsch, director of communications policy at Intel Corp., and Stuart Buck of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans, PLLC. May will moderate.

At least since Ronald Coase's famous 1959 article entitled The Federal Communications Commission advocating that the government sell spectrum rights in order to create a functioning marketplace, there has been a lively, if at times contentious, debate concerning spectrum policy. Much of the discussion today concerns whether the FCC should rely more heavily on a "commons" approach in allocating spectrum.

Professor Benjamin has published a new law review article entitled, "Spectrum Abundance and the Choice Between Private and Public Control." After examining the arguments in favor of spectrum commons, he concludes that efficiency considerations tilt in favor of private ownership of spectrum. He will discuss a shorter version of this article to be published by PFF, with reactions to follow from the panel.

Those interested in attending should register online. Questions should be directed to Rebecca Fuller at 202-289-8928 or

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation