Radio Berkman 153: The Wonderful World of Spectrum

May 20th, 2010

Step into a world where information floats through the open air — around your house, around your town, around the world — just waiting for you to reach up and grab it. Music, movies, phone calls from loved ones, the sound of your baby crying — it all travels in the charged particle space known as Spectrum.

Your average consumer might interact with a dozen or more devices on a daily basis, designed specifically to both emit and pluck information to and from the air. But how much do we really understand spectrum? There are fights going on right now between regulators, media and telecommunications companies, and consumers about how spectrum is bought, sold, and used. Today’s guest argues that we need to go back to basics to effectively settle these battles.

Christian Sandvig is a Berkman Center Fellow and director of the Project on Public Policy and Advanced Communication Technology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. On this week’s show David Weinberger and Sandvig elegantly deconstruct Spectrum, and give us some ideas as to how we can use this space more effectively.

Listen:
or download
…also in Ogg!

Reference Section:
Follow Christian’s work here
Find out more about the Project on Public Policy and Advanced Communication Technology here

CC Music this week:
Jeremiah Jacobs: Bounce Loops

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Radio Berkman 153: The Wonderful World of Spectrum

Have you ever wondered how information gets from A to B without wires? How does a call get from your friend’s cell phone to yours? The data from the net to your laptop at the local coffee shop? The clicks of your game controller to your game system? Or the voices to your radio?

All of this information travels wirelessly using spectrum, that magical highway in the sky that carries all of our bits from device to device. But as more and more wirelessly enabled devices hit the market – from baby monitors, to cell phones, to wireless routers – we need to get more creative about how that spectrum is used.

That’s the argument of today’s guest who says we need to update how we understand spectrum – from the dumb days of the 20th Century to the smart device-enable 21st.

Christian Sandvig is a Berkman Fellow and directs the Project on Public Policy and Advanced Communication Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Listen in as he gives David Weinberger a tour through the magical world of spectrum.

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Christian Sandvig is a Berkman Fellow and directs the Project on Public Policy and Advanced Communication Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He lives on the web at niftyc.org

You can find out more about Christian on our blog, including links to his recent work, and an awesome video of a panel he moderated at this year’s ROFLCon. Just visit us at blogs.law….

This episode was produced by me with David Weinberger at the Berkman Center….

META:
 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/niftyc/

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