This did not happen over night -- it was preceded by a couple years of research and politicking -- here are two key milestones:
- In July 2012, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) issued a report calling for the use of smart radios in sharing federal spectrum.
- In May 2013, The President appointed Tom Wheeler, who had been an Invited Expert on the PCAST report, to head the FCC.
No doubt AT&T et al will do their best to thwart this effort as they were able to derail the attempt to create competition by way of the 1996 Telecommunication Act. They may win this battle too, but if they don't, we may be using some interesting technology within the next decade.