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Spectrum 2014 - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Roundtable on Spectrum Policy?
The Aspen Institute Roundtable on Spectrum Policy (AIRS) is a continuing series of roundtable discussions attended by key decision makers from the telecommunications and information industries, user and consumer groups, academics, non-profit leaders, and representatives from federal, state, and local government. Expert participants from diverse disciplines and viewpoints exchange valuable insights, and develop innovative recommendations regarding spectrum policy.

What is the purpose of this website?
This site displays the report resulting from the annual Roundtable on Spectrum Policy. The series of chapters, written by rapporteur Dorothy Robyn, synthesize the ideas that emerged from participants during the two-day dialogue, examine the practical, political and institutional limits of general purpose spectrum and ways to overcome them. The site also highlights the Roundtable contributors, relevant background research and presentations from participants. The site acts as a dynamic space for viewers to explore the Roundtable content and engage on the topic.

What is the Communications and Society Program?
The Communications and Society Program is an active venue for framing policies and developing recommendations in the information and communications fields. As one of over thirty policy programs at the Aspen Institute, the Program provides a multi-disciplinary space where veteran and emerging decision-makers can develop new approaches and suggestions for communications policy. The Program enables global leaders and experts to explore new concepts, exchange insights, develop meaningful networks, and find personal growth, all for the betterment of society.

The Program’s projects range across many areas of information, communications and media policy. Activities focus on issues of open and innovative governance, public diplomacy, institutional innovation, broadband and spectrum management, as well as the future of content, issues of race and diversity, and the free flow of digital goods, services and ideas across borders.

Who leads the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program?
Charles M. Firestone is executive director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. Since his appointment in December 1989, the Program has focused on the implications of communications and information technologies for leadership, the impact of new technologies on democratic and social institutions, and the development of new communications policy models and options for the public interest. He was also the Institute's executive vice president for policy programs and international activities from 1997-2000.

Prior to his positions with the Aspen Institute, Mr. Firestone was director of the Communications Law Program at the University of California at Los Angeles and an adjunct professor of law at the UCLA Law School. He was also the first president of the Los Angeles Board of Telecommunications Commissioners, which advises the Mayor and City Council on all regulatory matters relating to the cable and telecommunications fields.

Mr. Firestone's career includes positions as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission, as director of litigation for a Washington DC public interest law firm, and as a communications and entertainment attorney in Los Angeles. He has argued several landmark communications cases before the United States Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts. Mr. Firestone is the editor or co-author of seven books, including Digital Broadcasting and the Public Interest (The Aspen Institute, 1998) and Television and Elections (The Aspen Institute, 1992), and has written numerous articles on communications law and policy.

He holds degrees from Amherst College and Duke University Law School and resides with his wife, sculptor Pattie Porter Firestone, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Who sponsors the programming of the Communications and Society Program?
We would like to thank our attending sponsors of the 2014 Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program for making this and our other conferences possible: AT&T, Cisco Systems, Comcast Corporation, Google, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, New Street Research, Qualcomm, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Verizon Wireless.

Who moderates the Conference on Communications Policy?
Charlie Firestone, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, moderates the Conference and all other roundtables produced by the Communications and Society Program.

Who are the participants at the Roundtable on Spectrum Policy?
Over the years many notable participants, including Dick Green, Reed Hundt, Jon Leibowitz, Yochai Benkler, Eli Noam, Phil Weiser, David Redl, and Thomas Hazlett, and Larry Strickling have attended the Roundtable on Spectrum Policy.

Can I attend the Roundtable on Spectrum Policy?
Participants at the Roundtable are a carefully balanced group of key decision makers from the telecommunications and information industries, user and consumer groups, academics, non-profit leaders, and representatives from government that are invited for their expertise, creativity and influential public policy ideas. Participation at the AIRS roundtable is by invitation only.

Where does the Roundtable on Spectrum Policy take place?
AIRS is an annual autumn event that takes place at the Aspen Wye River Conference Center in Queenstown, MD.

Does the Roundtable on Spectrum Policy have the same theme every year?
The AIRS theme varies each year, but always examines issues of spectrum regulation, allocation, and policy. Previous AIRS topics include: “Spectrum for the Wired Network,” “Spectrum as a Resource for Enabling Innovation Policy,” “The Reallocation Imperative: A New Vision for Spectrum Policy,” “Spectrum for the Next Generation of Wireless,” and “Rethinking Spectrum Policy: A Fiber Intensive Wireless Architecture.”

The current Roundtable on Spectrum Policy topic is “Making Waves: Alternative Paths to Flexible Use Spectrum.”