Implementing spectrum commons: Implications for Thailand
Doctoral thesis, 2013
Spectrum is a natural and limited resource that needs to be managed both internationally and nationally because of the unique propagation characteristics of radio waves. Once transmitted, a radio signal propagates until its power is depleted. Furthermore, electromagnetic energy does not recognize borders between countries. Spectrum is administered internationally by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Radio Regulations (RR) is an international treaty that provides international guidelines on spectrum management to keep interference manageable by allocating spectrum to services internationally. Spectrum assignment for the provision of rights to use frequency is carried out nationally by the National Regulatory Authority (NRA). Three typical approaches to spectrum assignment are command-and-control, market-based, and spectrum commons.
The purpose of this thesis is to study the implementation of spectrum commons in Thailand, including the consequences of spectrum commons allocation on the RR at WRC, the transformation of international regulation into national regulation for spectrum commons in Thailand, and the implementation of spectrum commons as national regulation in Thailand.
The results of this study illustrate 1) the development of spectrum commons allocation in the RR via the decision-making process at WRC, including WRC agenda setting and the study process for WRC-12 Agenda Items 1.19 and 1.22; 2) the transformation of international regulation for spectrum commons in terms of the definition of industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) application, footnotes 5.138 and 5.150, frequency bands in the table of frequency allocation (TFA) into national regulation as the NBTC regulation, including the Thai TFA, footnotes, and frequency bands; and 3) the implementation of spectrum commons in Thailand, including the authorization of spectrum commons and the exemption of radiocommunication devices as unlicensed.
The study uses the institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework to understand the decision-making process at WRC via the WRC agenda setting and study process for WRC-12 Agenda Items 1.19 and 1.22. However, the IAD framework only provides a list of questions that should be considered, not the detailed content regarding the implementation of spectrum commons. Moreover, the study illustrates the transformation of international regulation into national regulation in terms of a world of actions: constitution-choice, collective-choice, and operational level. Furthermore, the IAD framework assists in understanding the bundles of rights to use frequency for spectrum commons.
To implement spectrum commons regulation, an understanding of the RR at international level helps in local implementation at national level. The timely transfer of international to national regulation provides opportunities to benefit from device innovation and technological advancement. Once economies of scale are achieved, the general public benefits from the reasonable price of devices. As it is not a manufacturing country of such devices, Thailand should follow spectrum commons regulation and prepare national regulation changes in order to gain the benefits of spectrum commons by relaxing regulatory restrictions as much as possible.
institutional analysis and development (IAD) framework
Radio Regulations (RR)
World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC)