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ISSN: 1463-6697

Online from: 1999

Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management

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Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: the path from Carter and Reagan-era faith in deregulation to widespread products impacting our world

Document Information:
Title:Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: the path from Carter and Reagan-era faith in deregulation to widespread products impacting our world
Author(s):Michael J. Marcus, (Based at Marcus Spectrum Solutions LLC, Cabin John, USA)
Citation:Michael J. Marcus, (2009) "Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: the path from Carter and Reagan-era faith in deregulation to widespread products impacting our world", info, Vol. 11 Iss: 5, pp.19 - 35
Keywords:Regulation, United States of America, Wireless
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/14636690910989315 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:Received 13 September 2008. Revised 26 March 2009. Accepted 31 May 2009. An earlier version of this paper was presented at “The Genesis of Unlicensed Wireless Policy”, an Information Economy Project Conference, George Mason University School of Law, 4 April 2008.The author would like to acknowledge and thank the many people who worked with him on making these results possible:FCC Chairman Charles Ferris – who had the vision to gather a team on technology and policy and challenge them to remove barriers to new technology.Stephen Lukasik, former Chief Scientist of FCC – who had the vision to hire the author, challenged him to identify the roadblocks to new radio technology, and supported him during the early stages. Elliot Maxwell, Dr Lukasik's deputy – who supported the vision and tried to teach him how Washington really worked.Robert Powers, successor of Steve Lukasik as FCC Chief Scientist, who continued to support the initiative even though it proved not to be “career-enhancing” for either of them in the short term.FCC Chairman Mark Fowler – who recognized that this type of deregulation also fit the Reagan agenda and supported it even though industry was rather negative.Arthur Feller, Michael Kennedy, Joseph McNulty, John Reed and Dan Yates – who worked with the author to draft the FCC agenda items that implemented the policy.

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to provide a historical account of the May 1985 spread spectrum FCC decision.

Design/methodology/approachThe paper presents a case study giving a first-person account of decision making at the FCC in 1985.

FindingsThe May 1985 decision did not start as an attempt to bring specific products to market, but as part of a program to remove anachronistic technical regulations and allow a free market in innovative technology, subject only to responsible interference limits.

Research limitations/implicationsResearch limitations encompass typical limitations of a narrow case study of a historical event.

Practical implicationsThe paper guides future decision making in telecommunications policy.

Originality/valueThe paper reflects the path of deregulation in the 1980s resulting in widespread product innovation in the twenty-first century.

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