NTIA releases implementation plan for National Spectrum Strategy

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released the implementation plan for the Biden administration’s National Spectrum Strategy, which aims to kick off working groups on three candidate bands this month and have technical work to be completed by the end of next year.

The implementation plan sets out timeslines milestones and responsible agencies for study of 2,786 megahertz of spectrum that was identified in the NSS, which was released last November. (Need a recap on what’s in the NSS? Read this story.)

NTIA noted that part of what will be studied is whether airborne radars and other federal systems in the lower 3 GHz band could be repacked, compressed or relocated to allow commercial user of the band—which may be encouraging to wireless operators who would like to see additional full-power access in 3 GHz airwaves, rather than an extension of the lower-power, shared CBRS framework.

“The U.S. is in the midst of an intense competition for global leadership in the wireless space,” said Alan Davidson, who is Assistant Secretary of Commerce for communications and information as well as NTIA administrator. “The Implementation Plan offers a roadmap to realize the vision of the National Spectrum Strategy and meet the global challenge before us.”

However, the implementation plan is reflective of the massive amount of collaboration that needs to be done to assess and potentially clear a band of federal users or share a band, rather than a straight path to additional spectrum allocations. While a final report and recommendations on the first candidate band are expected to be delivered as soon as November of this year, that band is 37 GHz, rather than a lower frequency that would be more attractive for propagation purposes. Final reports and recommendations on the lower 3 GHz and spectrum in the upper midband at 7-8 GHz aren’t expected until late 2026. And of course, action on any recommendations on reallocation and auction of additional spectrum would require that Congress reinstate the FCC’s auction authority.

“We are encouraged by the Administration’s National Spectrum Strategy Implementation Plan, which comes at a crucial time as America continues to trail other countries in freeing up mid-band spectrum for 5G networks,” said Meredith Atwell-Baker, CTIA’s president and CEO. “We are pleased to see the Administration restore NTIA leadership over spectrum studies, right the course on the lower 3 GHz band, and set up a critical review of the 7/8 GHz band. It is vital that the Administration now move quickly to start these studies as we need decisive action on reallocating spectrum to secure our global economic competitiveness and innovation leadership. We look forward to working closely with the Administration, NTIA, FCC, DoD, Congress, and other stakeholders to take the necessary steps to build the spectrum pipeline America needs.”

The National Spectrum Consortium (NSC) called the implementation plan “robust” in emailed comments and added: “Approaching spectrum policy as a zero-sum game will no longer work. As we continue to digitize our infrastructure, spectrum is an increasingly important resource to a number of industries and federal agencies alike. NTIA is taking on a huge challenge to set up the wireless future of this country, and this plan lays out a collaborative, innovative path to navigate many competing interests on behalf of all Americans.”

“We hope to see diverse industry engagement in this process and look forward to supporting the NTIA’s work expediting delivery of the 37 GHz to market, focusing on Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, and creating a long-term collaboration framework for engaging with public stakeholders,” said Tamara Smith, spokesperson for avocacy group Spectrum for the Future, which represents a number of players in cable, private wireless and spectrum-sharing enablement. “That said, a multi-year, multi-stakeholder analysis has already confirmed that sharing the lower 3 GHz is possible. Additional study of the band for exclusive, high-power use will only delay the inevitable finding that this band should be made available on a shared basis. The Defense Department has warned that to do otherwise would cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and take decades to complete, so it is unfortunate to see this process being dragged out further,” Smith added in emailed remarks.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans preempted the release of the implementation plan with the release of a new bill yesterday, which would require NTIA to identify at least 2,500 megahertz of midband spectrum between 1.3 GHz-13.2 GHz that could be reallocated for commercial use and stipulates that at least half of the identified spectrum must allow for “full power commercial licensed use cases.” The bill proposes to extend FCC auction authority by eight years from passage, and also offers up another 125 megahertz of spectrum for unlicensed use. The bill would require the FCC to auction at least 1,250 megahertz of spectrum for full-power commercial wireless use within six years, including at least 600 megahertz within three years.

The White House released its National Spectrum Strategy late last year, which identified five candidate bands for near-term study and development, totaling 2,786 megahertz with an emphasis on midband spectrum and bolstering technology for dynamic sharing of spectrum. The candidate bands ranged from 3.1 GHz to 37.6 GHz, with all but one of them under 20 GHz and were a mix of federal bands and shared federal/non-federal bands, to be studied not only for terrestrial wireless use but for space-based services and aerial drones. That spectrum strategy report made clear both that spectrum is increasingly crucial to everything from national security to economic growth and technological leadership, and consideration on a national level has to be given to not only terrestrial mobile networks but to space development and spectrum for specific uses like drones and automobiles—and that spectrum is a finite resource for which there is more and more competition. It also declared that “Evolving to a ‘designed to share whenever feasible’ mindset will accelerate efficient and effective use of spectrum for all users” and said that NTIA would pursue “development of an enduring, scalable mechanism to manage shared spectrum access, including through the development of a common spectrum management platform.”

Access the full Implementation Plan here.

Source link

Next Post

Senators Unveil Bill to Restore FCC’s Auction Authority, Identify New Spectrum

Tue Mar 12 , 2024
UPDATE The wireless infrastructure industry applauded legislation introduced to restore the FCC’s spectrum auction authority and expand commercial access to mid-band spectrum. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Thune (R-SD) authored the Spectrum Pipeline Act of 2024, which caps a year-long effort to develop a law that requires the NTIA […]


COMING SOON! Signup for our newsletter, get hot news plus speical deals from us and our partners...

Best Omni-Directional on Market