More On Open Spectrum

Last week I wrote a short post titled "What Is An Aggressive Tech Agenda?" where I advocated open spectrum as the best way to achieve ubiquitous broadband in the US.

My partner Brad took this conversation a step further with a much more thoughtful and sophisticated post on the same topic on the Union Square Ventures blog titled "Open Spectrum Is Good Policy".

I am pleased that Brad's post is running on the Union Square Ventures blog because there are several policy positions that our entire firm is strongly behind and we are going to try to use our resources (mostly non financial) to push for them as hard as we can.

These include; open spectrum, patent reform, and ensuring that the best and brightest talent from all over the world can work and live in our country.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Kyle

    Absolutely agree on all three, but especially on the last one. While I’m sure we’ve all seen the numbers on how much tech companies like Microsoft and Google rely on immigration to fill engineering ranks, it extends to other industries. A number of my business school classmates, who are extremely skilled, capable, and brilliant people are finding it difficult to land jobs at banks that took TARP funds due to increased H1-B restrictions:'m of the belief that this has to stop.

  2. S. Pandya

    In grad school, one of my favorite electromagnetism professors always used to quote: “The radio frequency spectrum is one of those gifts that can be divided and used indefinitely.”Opening up the spectrum has the potential to do to our economy in the 21st century what the Interstate Highway System did for us in the 20th century.I hope we don’t miss the boat. This could be the strategic and economic boost that the US (and eventually the entire world) needs.

  3. mikenolan99

    As a former radio station owner and FCC license holder, I am in full support of Open Spectrum.Time and time again the FCC has abdicated leadership in favor of decades of teeter-totter rulings – letting the free market determine standards, auctions based on the previous technology, and deregulation forcing all but a handful of players out of the game.The FCC has always been blindsided by new technology, and lacks the decisiveness to make bold regulations to foster quantum leaps in the utilization of this countries spectrum.Alas, we expect delays, then a loooong period of half-hearted rulings. HDTV took how long?

  4. Abhinav Khushraj

    I strongly support the third issue. Although, it’s one thing to create ways to work and live in the US, I would like to take the issue one level beyond. There also has to be a way for talent across the world to be able to create startups without having to wait several years before you get your Green Card.Indians are one of the most successful entrepreneurial minorities but these days with visa restrictions and green card delays, it takes several years before one can create her own startup. There has to be a path to allow immigrants to create their startups without having to go through the long winded and slow permanent residency process.

    1. fredwilson

      If anyone can point me in the right direction on this issue, I will make some noise and break some glass

  5. LD

    We don’t always find common ground on political issues. Happy I can agree with all three of these. We’ve looked at investing in spectrum companies, do invest in a patent strategy (we think it’s beneficial), and I simply don’t understand locking our job market out to talented immigrants. Then again, I don’t understand the “wall” we’ve created on our southern border. At least the Fed is showing it’s very efficient at creating money.

    1. fredwilson

      That last one cracked me up lindel!

  6. South77

    Also posted on the other blog. FCC is so bad that the U.S. is the only major nation to have allocated 700 MHz spectrum for commerical use. How terrible!@Saunvit — spectrum re-use has several guises, but cell splitting has the biggest impact by far. This is sometimes known as “Cooper’s Law” after Marty Cooper at Motorola.

  7. kidmercury

    i think the amount of people that want to move to america is going to take a very sharp decline within four years. a move of power to a bureaucratic world government, another false flag attack, price inflation, and foreign policy are all factors that IMO could contribute to this. as the american people are 100% committed to doing anything but stopping these trends, i think it is a safe bet they will continue and we will see the corresponding changes in immigration flows.IMO there is an exciting opportunity in rebuilding america as a service nation, as its divervse population lets it service all cultures, and the impending collapse of its currency/reorganization of the global monetary system, will make it a great export economy.

  8. T.D. Klein

    If you think of just one example where the FCC determined it would essentially not regulate a market, e.g., WiFi, and the technological expansion that occurred afterward, the benefits of open spectrum become incontrovertible. While were at it could we add SarBox reform to your wish list?

    1. fredwilson

      I think we can innovate around sarbox, new exchanges, new markets, new ways to transact

  9. EM

    Fred (and everybody else), would be great to get your thoughts on how one can get involved on the 3rd issue. I feel very strongly on the issue. Having grown up in a number of countries, nothing bothers me more than the sense of entitlement people have with regards to “their country” when they were just lucky to have been born there. Not to belabor the point, but the US was built by immigrants.Thanks!

    1. fredwilson

      I am looking for that direction tooI’d like to make a big deal about issue #3

  10. Mike Evans

    Patent reform needs to be a bigger issue than the current scope of conversation. How does society benefit from a patent system? A well run patent system encourages innovation and sharing of ideas by making secrets public and in return granting the innovator a monopoly on the product. A poorly run patent system is about creating wealth through arcane rules.The goal of the patent system in the US should be to encourage innovation and open communication of ideas. It needs to be administered better, not decided by an adversarial system of legislation.

  11. jpmarcum

    Ensuring that the best/brightest can live and work in our country is absolutely important though I think you should add to that an “especially here in NY”. There’s a good Economix piece in the Times today – – about the importance of entrepreneurs to the city’s success. USV knows this as well as anyone, of course, so as the finance, law and trad media segments in NY struggle, how can/should tech/digital media expand? What does a localized aggressive tech agenda look like?

    1. fredwilson

      I think NYC will do just fine as long as the right people can get here

      1. jpmarcum

        Oh, I think it will be fine – I would just like it to be even stronger, to get (back?) to a level where young tech talent doesn’t look at the Valley as *the* center of the industry, where LA wouldn’t be on par with NY for opportunities, where NY 1.0 veterans don’t decamp for the west coast (Seth, Jason, others?), where, frankly, enduring the relative poverty of working in tech in NY vs at a hedge fund doesn’t drive people out of town. Yes, it’s ultimately all up to us and without a doubt there’s a huge amount happening here but I would say that given the ascendancy of digital in LA and sig challenges to the advertising/print media industries here in town I do think we risk becoming distinctly third tier.

        1. fredwilson

          I don’t see it that way but maybe I am too close to the nyc market.I’ve looked at dozens of startups in LA and none have been interesting to me. We have almost 20 nyc based startupsSF is different. Its the center of the tech world and will continue to be for some time to come

  12. scottythebody

    That’s the cleanest, most effective tech policy agenda I’ve read. Perfect.

    1. fredwilson

      Well thank youI owe most of this to my partner Brad who thinks clearly and concisely

    1. fredwilson

      The WSJ can say what they wantMy experience is similar to Gates’

  13. Greg

    Great stuff. Have you written on what you’d like to see in the way of patent reform yet? If not, I’d love to see something on that.