New Study Shows Shared-Spectrum Benefits Government, Taxpayers, and Business

New Study Shows Shared-Spectrum Benefits Government, Taxpayers, and Business

As regulators look to address the growing demand for spectrum on crowded airwaves, a new analysis from The Brattle Group shows a shared-use spectrum model (like the CBRS model) delivers more economic value than exclusive licensing, while allowing incumbent users like the Department of Defense to continue national security operations.

The number of internet-connected devices has grown dramatically over the years, and with more devices coming online each day, as well as the shift to increased spectrum use by consumers in the home and businesses for private 5G, the need for an updated model of wireless spectrum management is evident.

A Modern Solution to a Modern Issue

A tiered-rights management system in which multiple users can operate simultaneously offers significant benefits over an exclusive-use approach:

  • A shared approach would not displace and disrupt important national defense systems.
  • A shared approach would drastically reduce the cost of entry for new users, generating increased competition and economic revenue for the U.S. economy.
  • A shared approach enables non-traditional service providers to enter the market, fostering novel uses, competition, and innovation.
  • A shared approach promotes 5G investment in purpose-built solutions for rural and remote areas that may not be served by traditional carriers.
  • A shared approach in the CBRS band is already the preferred option for private wireless networks that are supercharging American manufacturing.

economic analysis shows exclusive user license costing the government $41.38 billion, while a shared approach earns the government $18.61 billion

Protecting National Defense While Powering the Economy

Brattle’s analysis shows that a single-user license approach, as some industries are advocating, would cost the government billions of dollars while not delivering enough taxable revenue to offset the cost.

  • According to the Pentagon, vacating the mid-band for commercial 5G would cost the Department of Defense $120 billion.
  • When clearing costs are accounted for, an exclusive licensing regime in the 3.1-3.45 GHz band would generate a net loss in value and pose a risk to national security.
  • Spectrum sharing, in contrast, can create almost $19 billion in net revenue for the Treasury with no clearing costs and no threat to national security.

As regulators look to the future, shared-spectrum is a win-win approach that balances the economic and competitive benefits of bringing additional spectrum to market with the critical needs of defense and other government uses. To learn more about shared-spectrum models, visit Spectrum For The Future’s website and