From spectrum management to spectrum governance

Peter Anker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Spectrum management is essentially an issue of coordination for which different solutions are possible. Two alternative approaches have been proposed to replace or to be applied next to governmental control: (1) property rights; and (2) a commons, with restrictions in the type of use or users. Although elements of both proposals have been implemented, the resulting mixed regime is still a top down process with many rigidities and a government in control. Proper implementation of these alternative approaches requires a shift in the role of the government from a controller of the spectrum management process to a facilitator of decentralized coordination in the market in a multi-actor spectrum governance process. The role of the government shifts to market design, monitoring and facilitation. This shift in the role of the government is relatively absent in the debate on spectrum management.This paper makes a proposal for this shifting role of the government, provides the rationale for this shift and includes guidance on its implementation. A case study on recent experience in the Netherlands with this new role of the government is summarized in this paper. The case study describes how this role of the government could be implemented for the introduction of new (cognitive radio) technology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTelecommunications Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Property rights
  • Radio spectrum governance
  • Radio spectrum management
  • Spectrum commons
  • Spectrum usage rights
  • Unlicensed access


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