The Political Economy of Orbit Spectrum Leasing

This article will propose several plans for allocating a common resource of the earth-the international orbit spectrum–among nations through mechanisms designed to introduce market incentives. The rights to orbital “parking places” are so defined as to permit their subdivision, recombination, and assignment in lease markets. The lease market approach accommodates the interests of both developed countries (DCs), who have the technology and domestic demand to establish satellite systems today, and less-developed countries (LDCs), who seek long-range planning to guarantee them access to the orbit spectrum at a time in the future when they, too, possess the capability and need. In the interim, this plan will provide LDCs with income as the lessors of orbital slots they cannot currently use.