Alternatives for Improved Personal Communications
OSP Working Paper 20 (Sept 1986) provides a brief overview of the personal radio services provided in 1986 and suggests regulatory changes that might improve those services. McNally observes that the public interest in two-radio telecommunications was demonstrated by the popularity of the Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS), which in 1979 had 15 million licensees. However, the quality of service in the CBRS was poor, in part because of adverse long-distance propagation conditions and excessive congestion. Further, widespread use of the CBRS was alleged to have caused significant interference to television reception.
McNally argues that resolving these personal radio issues has been complicated by several factors: (a) the absence of an effective public lobby, (b) uncertainty as to the communications needs of the general public, (c) the absence of a method by which the value of radio communication to current and potential two-way radio user groups can be determined, and (d) a competing demand for radio spectrum by the commercial segment of the communications industry.
McNally concludes that, if the Commission is to improve the availability of better quality two-way radio communications among members of the general public, a different regulatory approach to the problem may be desirable. He therefore suggests regulatory changes intended to develop a more comprehensive, competitive, and mobile communications marketplace.