Some of the most valuable real estate out there is nothing you could build a house or a hotel on. It is the government-regulated electromagnetic spectrum, the frequencies over which we broadcast radio, television and, increasingly, data for smart phones, tablets and other wireless gizmos.
But, as it often is with more solid forms of property, this limited asset is being fought over. And the government must act to see that the public interest is protected.
Some of the outfits that already own large chunks of the available spectrum cell phone carriers Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are lobbying the Federal Communications Commission to sell them more space, or at least allow them to buy capacity from other companies. They warn that if they are not allowed to acquire more spectrum, the rapidly growing adoption of high-speed data plans on phones and tablets will use up the available frequencies.