The speaker at the MIT Wireless Forum meeting on December 4, 2002 was David P. Reed. In his presentation titled “Bits are not Bites! Balkanizing spectrum creates scarcity” he argued that the use of adaptive radio architectures will eventually enable a massive increase in usable “spectrum capacity.” The current structure of U.S. and international radio spectrum regulation has enforced an architectural model of narrow band fixed power broadcasting and a market for spectrum. This made sense with the state of technology in 1912, however, given recent advances in information theory and radio communication techniques (e.g. Ultra Wide Band) it is no longer viable.
The arguments in support (as well as against) new spectrum allocation schemes take on technical, economic, and political dimensions. For example, Lawrence Lessig and Yochai Benkler have argued that if the information capacity is effectively unlimited, our current spectrum allocation process could be declared unconstitutional. Reed believes that over the next 10 years a revolution is inevitable and acknowledges there are many entrenched interests and faulty metaphors to negotiate before this can occur.
Detailed meeting notes are available: MITWF-02-Dec-Reed.pdf (PDF, 154K).