NTIA Report on Additional Bands Expected Soon

November 1, 2016–The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is expected to release “really soon” a report on quantitative assessments conducted with federal agencies on their use of various spectrum bands, an NTIA official said today. The assessment will help NTIA decide which bands to study in a more detailed fashion. NTIA’s assessment involves five bands with 960 megahertz of spectrum.

During a spectrum session this afternoon at the 2016 Winnik International Telecoms and Internet Forum, Derek Khlopin, senior adviser-spectrum to NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling, said the report has gotten all the necessary clearance, although he said he doesn’t know specifically when it will be released. NTIA officials have predicted in the past that the report would be released soon.

For example, Paige Atkins, NTIA’s associate administrator-Office of Spectrum Management, said in February that the report would be released “within a couple months” (TRDaily, Feb. 17), and NTIA Chief of Staff Glenn Reynolds said in June that it would be released “relatively soon” (TRDaily, May 16).

Mr. Khlopin also said today he can’t offer any information on when a joint public notice would be issued by NTIA and the FCC to solicit proposals for implementation of a “model city” program to spur spectrum sharing. In February, Ms. Atkins said the public notice would be released by the end of March, while Mr. Reynolds said in May that it would likely come out “relatively soon.”

During today’s session, government and industry representatives stressed the importance of industry having enough spectrum for Internet of things applications, and they said that carriers are likely to use low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum and licensed, unlicensed, and shared hybrid frequencies. A dedicated IoT band is not necessary, they said. The federal government realizes the importance of giving industry flexibility in what spectrum it uses and doesn’t want to limit bands available, said Mr. Khlopin and Renee Gregory, senior policy adviser in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Speakers noted that there is no hard and fast definition of IoT, which is OK, said David Grossman, chief of staff and media policy adviser for FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn.

Virginia Lam Abrams, senior vice president-communications and government relations for Starry, Inc., which wants to deploy a nationwide wireless network using millimeter-wave spectrum, said different licensing schemes are helpful to industry. She and Steve Sharkey, vice president-government affairs for T-Mobile US, Inc., also agreed that the government must provide regulatory certainty.

Mr. Sharkey also noted that his company believes that the FCC, in the spectrum frontiers order it adopted in July (TRDaily, July 14), made too much spectrum available on an unlicensed basis and not enough for licensed services. He said he’s hopeful that the Commission will rectify that in an order addressing additional bands. Mr. Sharkey also cited the “tremendous progress” that has been made in sharing spectrum with federal agencies, singling out AWS-3 spectrum. “We’re getting now into, I think, more refined levels of discussions about … the requirements of both sides that, I think, will do well and build a good level of trust between the different groups that will help us as we look at other bands,” he said. – Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily