Allocating Publicly Owned Assets: The Case of Personal Communications Services
In late July 1994, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began an unprecedented sale of the airwaves. Large segments of radio spectrum (frequencies) were sold in a series of auctions, enabling firms to provide new telecommunications services. First to be sold were 4,900 radio licenses for two-way paging services, voice messaging, and data services, allowing receipt of faxes by hand-held devices, for example. Next to be sold are about 2,000 licenses for wireless telephone services known as personal communications services (PCS). PCS systems will transmit calls via radio waves using digital technology. As with current cellular telephone systems, there will be many “base stations,” and calls will be relayed from station to station as the caller moves around.
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