January 19th, 2017

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Please, Oh Lord, Let Me Be Wrong -- Or Smarter. One of those two.

While contemplating the most recent spectrum auction and the evolution of the industry and policy over the last few years in the shower this morning, I was blinded by a deep insight into the political science problem of licensed v. unlicensed spectrum.

If my theory is correct, the current game is unwinnable from an unlicensed spectrum perspective in the short term (10+ years) because there is an unsolvable collective action problem on the unlicensed side.

Mind you, it is blindingly obvious when stated intuitively, and in retrospect. But it wasn't clear until I actually thought it through in all its particulars why the current strategy of the last 15 years has now run its course and is a dead end.

I need a giant delta-S carved on my tombstone. Damn.

This has nothing to do with the most recent election. That is a transient tactics issue. The broader collective action problem is the one that needs solving.

I should not be too hard on myself. It's not like the last 15 years have been wasted. Nor was the insight possible without empirical data. And I really need to run this by some actual poli-sci game theorists to confirm. I might still be wrong. Or, after my panic settles down, I might get more clever.

Yeah, I'm vague-journaling. Actually, what I'm doing is panicking. Yes, this is what wonk-panic looks like. Because if I'm right, then I need to figure out if there is any realistic way of altering the collective action problem. Otherwise I should give up on spectrum policy and go back to wireline.