5G and weather forecasting - there's a solution to this

Over in the United States there’s some mumbling about the use of spectrum for 5G networks. The problem being that the wavelength on offer is very close to that used by certain satellite based weather forecasting methods. We thus have two valuable things which are mutually exclusive - if we believe the complaints of course - so how do we decide between them?

Obviously enough we decide in favour of the one which is more valuable:

He says that while the FCC can switch which regions of the spectrum it allocates to phone companies, forecasters are stuck. That’s because water vapor emits a faint signal in the atmosphere at a frequency (23.8 GHz) that is extremely close to the one sold for next-generation 5G wireless communications (24 GHz). Satellites like NOAA’s GOES-R and the European MetOp monitor this frequency to collect data that is fed into prediction models for upcoming storms and weather systems.

OK, that’s a technical problem that the universe imposes upon us.

If you had a choice between a better, faster cell phone signal and an accurate weather forecast, which would you pick?

The more valuable one. Obviously. Which really just moves us an iteration back, how do we decide which is the more valuable one? The only method we’ve got is price, that determined by willingness to pay. That is, in order to sort this out we auction that spectrum, with those using those satellites and doing the weather forecasting taking part.

For this is the only way that we can work out what is the more valuable use of that scarce resource.

Yes, this system does work, we use it here in the UK. MoD and other such government organisations do have to justify their spectrum use by bidding for it.