The amount of radio spectrum released by the transition to digital television is known as the digital dividend. Given the growing pressure on spectrum, as well as the social and political importance of television, the digital dividend has sparked intense debate between representatives of the media and advocates of other uses for spectrum—above all, the telecommunications industry.
This paper considers how citizens and policymakers should approach the changes in the media and communication landscape, as television and broadband mobile internet compete for spectrum. Successful decisions about the digital dividend are measured in terms of benefiting consumers and citizens as well as maximizing spectrum use. Gérard Pogorel proposes a step-by-step, analytical approach to the issue, emphasizing explicit consideration of public policy criteria, their implications, and their impact. Citizens have a major—and as yet undiscovered—role to play in shaping this process.