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Conference paper
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Achieving efficient spectrum management in the pursuit of the public interest is a key aspect of legal reforms introduced in spectrum liberalising countries. However, spectrum law is unclear about the precise nature of the efficiencies to achieve and choices between different efficiency objectives are often dictated by the nature of the services, bands and market considered. This article argues that what the public interest needs most is governance efficiency, i.e. the flexibility to select appropriate efficiency objectives and design the corresponding licenses to achieve them. Australia has experimented with flexible governance arrangements since the 1992 legislative reforms. Hybrid licenses have flourished within the apparatus and class licensing regimes, albeit less so within the property rights approach where the regulatory discretion to craft dynamically efficient sub-regimes is mostly transferred to the licensee. Hence, despite successes in moving towards governance efficiency, some legal rules still feed a pool of 'licensing gaps' that detract from the public interest they are meant to serve. The article discusses remedies to these gaps.

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