TR Daily NTIA Seeks Input for Developing National Spectrum Strategy
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Thursday, December 20, 2018

NTIA Seeks Input for Developing National Spectrum Strategy

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration today teed up the comment proceeding for its development of the “comprehensive, long-term national spectrum strategy” that President Trump recently directed federal executive agencies to create.

It asks interested parties for “recommended actions as well as information that can improve NTIA’s understanding more generally in areas including expanding spectrum access, improving spectrum sharing, enhancing spectrum management, utilizing ongoing research and development activities, fostering global competitiveness, protecting U.S. space assets from RF interference, and augmenting the mission capability of Federal entities.”

In the public inspection version of a notice scheduled for publication in tomorrow’s “Federal Register,” NTIA says it is seeking “broad input from interested stakeholders, including private industry, academia, civil society, and other experts.” Comments will be due 30 days after publication of the notice in docket 181130999-8999-01. Comments may be mailed to NTIA or e-mailed to [email protected].

President Trump signed a memorandum in October directing the executive branch to develop a national spectrum strategy and emphasizing the importance of efficient government spectrum use, spectrum sharing, and leading the world in 5G deployment (TR Daily, Oct. 25). David J. Redl, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, had mentioned the administration’s plan to develop the national spectrum strategy earlier in the year at a meeting of the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) (TR Daily, April 25).

In October, a government official briefing reporters on the president’s memo responded to a question about a proposal floated by a senior National Security Council official early this year regarding the creation of a government-built 5G network (TR Daily, Jan. 29) stressed that the memo contemplated a private-sector 5G effort. “We very much see this as a private sector-driven 5G roll out and encourage others to see it as that also,” said the official.

In the “Federal Register” notice slated for publication tomorrow, NTIA notes that the October presidential memo “requires the Secretary of Commerce, working through NTIA, and in consultation with Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and other Federal entities to submit a long-term National Spectrum Strategy to the President, through the Director of the National Economic Council and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, within 270 days.

“The National Spectrum Strategy is to include legislative, regulatory, or other policy recommendations to: (a) Increase spectrum access for all users, including on a shared basis, through transparency of spectrum use and improved cooperation and collaboration between Federal and non-Federal spectrum stakeholders; (b) Create flexible models for spectrum management, including standards, incentives, and enforcement mechanisms that promote efficient and effective spectrum use, including flexible-use spectrum licenses, while accounting for critical safety and security concerns; (c) Use ongoing research, development, testing, and evaluation [RDT&E] to develop advanced technologies, innovative spectrum-utilization methods, and spectrum-sharing tools and techniques that increase spectrum access, efficiency, and effectiveness; (d) Build a secure, automated capability to facilitate assessments of spectrum use and coordination of shared access among Federal and non-Federal spectrum stakeholders; and (e) Improve the global competitiveness of United States terrestrial and space-related industries and augment the mission capabilities of Federal entities through spectrum policies, domestic regulations, and leadership in international forums,” NTIA adds.

NTIA further says that spectrum-related aspects of the Space Policy Directive-3 Space Traffic Management Policy (SPD-3) signed by President Trump in June are consistent with the goals of the spectrum presidential memo, such as preventing unintentional radio frequency (RF) interference; addressing orbital congestion, ensuring policies and regulations on global access to spectrum for space services are consistent; and promoting flexible spectrum use.

In addition to requesting “comment on the full range of issues raised in this [request for comment],” the notice seeks input on improving predictability of spectrum access for all users; the potential for automation to “facilitate assessments of spectrum use and expedite the coordination of shared access”; “the practical extent of applying standards, incentives, and enforcement mechanisms to promote efficient and effective spectrum use”; the potential for research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) to “improve spectrum-utilization methods, and spectrum-sharing tools and techniques”; “the risks, if any, to the global competitiveness of U.S. industries associated with spectrum management and policy actions”; how to structure a spectrum management paradigm “such that it satisfies the needs of commercial interests while preserving the spectrum access necessary to satisfy the mission requirements and operations of Federal entities”; and “the likely future needs of spectrum users, both terrestrially and for space-based applications, within the next 15 years.”

With regard to future spectrum needs, it asks, “[A]re present allocations of spectrum sufficient to provide next generation services like Fifth Generation (5G) cellular services and emerging space-based applications? For commenters who assert that existing allocations are insufficient, NTIA is interested in understanding better the amount of spectrum presently available to provide particular services (or similar services) and estimates of the amount of additional spectrum in each frequency band that the commenter believes is needed.” —Lynn Stanton, [email protected]

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