Want bright lights & noise? Come to Nexteland!
[Nextel] charges much more for dispatch service than was charged before the FCC facilitated the sale of spectrum and the construction of Nexteland.
Here’s an idea. Let’s sell our national parks.
Why not? Think of all the money that would be generated for the U.S. Treasury. Money that could reduce the deficit, reduce the national debt, pay for military spending and save Social Security and Medicare.
Plus, the National Park Service would be relieved of the burden of maintaining buildings, roads, trails and other improvements. It could reassign its staff to other, more important jobs than that of park ranger.
Who would be the buyer? Prudential Insurance, the nation’s largest insurer and real estate owner. That’s where insurance premiums are invested, by the way: real estate.
Prudential could win big in the national park auctions. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains — owned and operated by Prudential for the benefit of us all.
Prudential knows how to run real estate. It knows how to get the “highest and best use” from a piece of property.
Not like the National Park Service. The National Park Service hands out trifling concessions to a few businesses that operate a limited number of lodges and restaurants on park land. Also, the National Park Service charges a nominal entrance fee that allows just about anyone to use the parks.
And that’s a crying shame. Think of what we’re missing by not having “Prudentialand” in almost every national park, with rides and entertainment keyed to natural wonders and insurance salesmen dressed in bear suits. To increase attendance at select national parks turned into “Prudentialands,” Prudential could close the rest of them.
The FCC could teach the National Park Service a thing or two. It sells spectrum to plenty of buyers, and the bigger, the better. And when it comes to two-way radio service on the 800MHz and 900MHz bands, no one is bigger than Nextel. It owns thousands of frequencies, some purchased from license-holders and some bought at FCC auctions.
The FCC used to run a “national park,” using its own employees to sell individual licenses, keep order and give many small businesses access to spectrum. Now, the FCC is happy to watch the bright lights, noise and crowds at Nexteland, free from the burden of administering the property it sold. Where Nextel hasn’t developed the spectrum it owns, that spectrum is closed to other users.
Prudential makes money, and it advertises its way to a good rep while paying huge settlements for allegedly overcharging or misleading its customers.
Nextel could teach Prudential how to lose money. Whether Nextel overcharges is a matter of opinion, but it charges much more for dispatch service than was charged before the FCC facilitated the sale of spectrum and the construction of Nexteland.
I don’t think the public truly benefits financially from spectrum sales. Money paid by carriers for spectrum is collected from telecom users, and that’s most of the population.
As taxpayers, people may get some tiny relief as a result of spectrum sales. As consumers, most of the same people pay it back, maybe several times over.
Perhaps charging consumers seems fair, in a way, because those who use the service pay for it. Yet, if that were the case, why not sell the national parks and let their new owners charge enormous entrance fees to offset the purchase price and development costs? That way, only those who use the parks would be paying for them. Too bad if fewer people could afford to visit and if the park experience became more hype and less nature.
We can’t turn back the clock. Spectrum sold is spectrum sold. The FCC continues to issue individual licenses only where frequencies are shared and so crowded that clearing incumbents following an auction might be impossibly expensive. But if you’re new to the radio communications business since the auctions, maybe you should know that it didn’t have to be this way.
In the 1.4GHz band where the FCC is considering whether to create a new Land Mobile Communications Service, it still favors auctions.
As a possible exception, the FCC said that applicants seeking traditional site licensing would be required to demonstrate special needs and a lack of means to acquire spectrum meeting these needs. Maybe there’s a glimmer of hope for a tiny national park at 1.4GHz where small businesses could take a place in between Nextelands.