New Report Details Interference Limit Regime and Economic Effects
Thursday, April 23, 2020 | Comments

A new report offers a detailed economic analysis of an interference limit regime. The report concludes that, under certain economic and regulatory conditions, an interference limit regime can improve the efficiency of radio system coexistence.

An interference limit is a policy tool that specifies the level of radio interference that receivers should be expected to tolerate before a radio service operator can make a claim to the regulator of harmful interference. Authored by William W. Sharkey and Mark M. Bykowsky, two senior FCC economists, the report titled “Can Market Forces and an Interference Limit Together Promote the Efficient Co-existence of Radio Systems?” analyzes the economic benefits of establishing an interference limit.

The report finds that “an interference limit can increase the likelihood that two radio system operators can come to a mutually beneficial agreement about both the level of interference that should exist between [them],” as well as “lead to the manufacture of higher quality receivers.”

The role of receivers in interference is a long-standing topic of the Silicon Flatirons Spectrum Policy Initiative. The idea of an interference limit, also known as a harm claim threshold, was first broached in a Silicon Flatirons event in December 2009. It was further developed in a series of papers, including a 2014 report by the FCC Technological Advisory Council (TAC) on “Interference Limits Policy and Harm Claim Thresholds.” Pierre de Vries, a director of the Silicon Flatirons Spectrum Policy Initiative, was the principal author of the TAC report, which recommended a three-step process the FCC could adopt to roll out interference limit policy.

“My colleague Dale Hatfield has noted that the spectrum policy community has spent more than a decade developing good policy ideas, and the time has now come to turn them into reality,” said de Vries. “This report is an essential step in deploying interference limits policy, which will increase the value of radio services by helping to balance transmitter- and receiver- created interference, something Dale has championed for decades. This report is the first economic analysis of the interference limit concept, and a significant milestone in its development. It not only provides reassurance of the economic value of interference limits, but also describes the kinds of information a regulator needs to implement it effectively. We commend Drs. Sharkey and Bykowsky on this important work and thank the FCC for providing the authors the time and resources needed to examine this important issue.”

“My colleague, Dr. De Vries, is a true polymath and a fountain of original ideas as exemplified by his development of the interference limit concept,” said Hatfield, former chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) at the FCC and a director of the Silicon Flatirons Spectrum Policy Initiative. “Recent events have shown how vital radio spectrum is to the nation’s economic and social wellbeing, and to national defense and homeland security. In that context, I cannot think of anything more important than creating economic incentives for all segments of the wireless industry to improve receiver performance without the government resorting to heavy-handed regulation.”

The Silicon Flatirons Spectrum Policy Initiative is directed by Hatfield and de Vries. In October, the initiative plans to host a conference on “Evidence-Based Spectrum Policy” at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder, Colorado. Hatfield is a member of the editorial advisory board of MissionCritical Communications magazine.

“This work would not have been done without Pierre and Dale’s determined efforts to find an efficient mechanism to allow the coexistence of multiple radio systems,” said Bykowsky and Sharkey, who published the report on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). “It is our hope that this paper will help to re-start a careful examination of the role of an interference limit in this endeavor.”

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On 5/8/20, Fred Palidor said:
Has a specific threshold been determined for harmful interference or a claim of harm?

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