The Citizen's Guide to the Airwaves is the New America Foundation's attempt to educate the public about the tremendous value, government mismanagement, and impending giveaway of the nation's airwaves—the most valuable natural resource of the information economy. The publications frame the spectrum debate in a language new to the policy world, using clear, graphic illustrations to depict the economic, social and political facets of spectrum policy.
The Citizen's Guide includes a two-sided, 11" x 38" color poster and a 52-page Explanation Report. The poster's front side is a visual "map" of the spectrum; the backside is a nine-panel overview of the U.S. spectrum policy debate.
Downloadable PDF versions of the Citizen's Guide poster and report are available free of charge (see below).
Praise for The Citizen's Guide
"[The Citizen's Guide] is a first class contribution. Congratulations."
- Newt Minow, Former FCC Chair and author of The Vast Wasteland
"The New America Foundation has produced an enormous, informative poster explaining the public interest in spectrum allocation."
- Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing Web Log
"The Citizen's Guide to the Airwaves is an important and timely overview of one of the American people's most valuable resources. The document also offers effective analysis and visualization of the economic and political forces that are shaping the future of the radio spectrum. Documents of this kind make democracy possible by informing the public about significant issues in a way that does not, like much communication today, demean the reader's intelligence or assume that someone has only a few seconds to consider vital facts and opinions, thoughts and emotions, before taking action."
- Aaron Marcus, President, Aaron Marcus and Associates Inc.
"This is one of the greatest documents I've ever seen, and I don't say that lightly... This handsomely and expertly produced set of writings and graphics clearly shows the disproportionate value assigned to segments of spectrum... The U.S. has a crisis in spectrum because of how it's been distributed, sold, given away, allowed to be used on an unlicensed basis. This document goes a long way towards explaining the fix we're in and presents ideas about how to solve it. Even better, it quantifies so much: current value of various chunks of the frequency dial, and the potential value that could be realized."
-- Glenn Fleishman, freelance tech-policy journalist for The New York Times, Wired, and author of Wi-Fi Networking News
- Thomas Bonnett, Instructor, Baruch College, and author of numerous books and articles on information policy
"If you're someone who doesn't like to get ripped off, then you should pay attention to what's going on with the nation's airwaves and how they are being managed. A good place to start is the New America Foundation's Spectrum Policy Pages. Earlier this month, they also released a Citizen's Guide to the Airwaves, which is a great poster that graphically explains how it all works and why you should give a toss. Check it out. A key aspect of the New America Foundation's proposal for spectrum policy reform is that private corporations should reimburse the public for using a public resource."
- Sarah Lai Stirland, Corante, Connected Web Log, http://www.corante.com/connected/
"[The Citizen's Guide to the Airwaves is a] great introduction to/nutshell of the spectrum usage debate that will doubtlessly grow louder in the months and years ahead."
- J.T. Stanton, Author of Penguinal Ebullience Web Log, http://penguinal.net/
"A cool printable poster... shows you how the airwaves are allocated in a layman's sort of way... keen... "
- Dan Nawara, "Pinmonkey" Web Log, http://www.pinmonkey.com/
"The New America Foundation this week released its 'Citizen's Guide to the Airwaves,' a primer on US spectrum policy. The guide was delivered to members of Congress, the press and the think-tank community in an effort to illustrate the 'tremendous value, government mismanagement and impending giveaway of the nation's airwaves -- the most valuable natural resource of the information economy.' The Citizen's Guide includes a two-sided, 11" x 38" color poster and a 52-page Explanation Report. The poster's front side is a visual 'map' of the spectrum; the backside is a nine-panel overview of the U.S. spectrum policy debate."
- The Benton Foundation, Communications-Related Headlines, August 21, 2003, http://www.benton.org
"This is an excellent information tool with great potential. Nobody, at least in the public safety community, has put together such a quick, easy to understand [tool]."
- Tom Tolman, National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, U.S. Department of Justice