Policies of Wireless Systems


Units: 12

Description: This course will address public policy issues related to wireless systems. It investigates policies related to a wide variety of emerging wireless systems and technologies, including current and next-generation cellular systems, wifi and white space devices, emerging methods of accessing spectrum, communications systems for emergency responders (firefighters, police, emergency medical services), current and next-generation television, and satellite communications. This can include the government role in facilitating the creation of infrastructure, in advancing competition among broadcasters and communications service providers, in using scarce spectrum efficiently, in promoting public safety and homeland security, and in protecting privacy and security. Because these are inherently interdisciplinary issues, the course will include detailed discussions of technology, economics, and law, with no prerequisites in any of these areas. This course is cross-listed as 18-650, 19-403, 19-713, and 95-824. Senior or graduate standing required.

Learning Outcomes: At the end of this course you will: • Understand the basic physics of wireless communications and how the differing physical properties of radio waves at various frequencies affect the allocation of spectrum to different uses. • Understand the process by which the use of the spectrum is managed in the o United States, and how spectrum is licensed. • Understand how new technologies such as Ultrawideband and Cognitive Radio are challenging traditional spectrum allocation processes • Understand the legal framework for the regulation of content by broadcasters • Understand how content regulation on the Internet differs from broadcasting. • Understand how the Internet is regulated under the Communications Act and o FCC’s recently proposed “Third Way” approach to Internet regulation. • Understand the “governance” structure of the Internet and the management of o Internet resources such as the Domain Name System. You will also learn how lawyers reason about the law and the relationship between constitutional law, statutory law, regulatory law and common law.