This post notes the existence of the following article:
- Mitchell Lazarus (May 2013). When Spectrum Auctions Fail, IEEE Spectrum: pp. 33-35, 56-59.
This article is about the microwave spectrum, in the range from 3 to 100 Gigahertz, with an emphasis on the commercial use of the low end of this range. From World War II until fairly recently, conflicts and potential interference in the use of the microwave spectrum were resolved by discussions among engineers working for the users of the conflicting resources. Nowadays, conflicts are resolved by auctioning off the spectrum. (Presumably, these auctions are inspired by the work for which the so-called Nobel prize in economics was awarded last year.) And, Lazarus argues, these auctions have failed to work as well as the previous regime did.
Lazarus provides a popular survey of some technical characteristics of microwave radiation. Microwave is used for point-to-point communication, not for broadcast. This use often parallels a physical infrastructure in an area. The auctions typically leave the frequencies put up for auction underused, or so Lazarus argues.