The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released an annual report to Congress that details progress on federal agency efforts to transition from the 1695-1710 megahertz and 1755-1780 MHz bands to make way for wireless carriers that won licenses in the FCC’s AWS-3 auction (TRDaily, Jan. 29, 2015). The annual report on federal agencies’ progress to relocate systems to other bands or to share spectrum is required by Congress under the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act (CSEA).
“While it is early in the transition period, affected federal agencies report they are adhering to the original approved transition timelines for the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands,” according to the report. “For the period ending December 2016, outlays of the eligible federal agencies totaled $21 million and $249 million for the 1695-1710 MHz and 1755-1780 MHz bands, respectively. This brings the total cumulative outlays to $26.5 million for the 1695-1710 MHz band and $274.5 million for the 1755-1780 MHz band. For the 1755-1780 MHz band, three agencies (United States Capitol Police, Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Department of Veterans Affairs) completed their relocation efforts and achieved comparable capability. As required by the CSEA, NTIA will notify the FCC of these results.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration, Department of the Treasury, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and United States Agency for International Development reported they have transitioned from using the spectrum and continue to use the funds from the SRF [Spectrum Relocation Fund] until they have achieved comparable capability. NTIA will notify the FCC when each of the remaining agencies have completed the relocation effort and achieved comparable capability. Full transition from the spectrum for the remaining agencies is projected for 2025.”
The report also provided an update on clearing of the 1710-1755 MHz band. The FCC auctioned the AWS-1 licenses in 2006 and 2008.
“All 12 federal agencies have reported that they have ceased operations of their systems in the 1710-1755 MHz band, where required to do so, clearing the way for commercial licensees,” the report noted. “To date, seven agencies (United States Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation/Federal Aviation Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, and United States Postal Service) have completed their relocation efforts and achieved comparable capability by relocating to new frequency assignments or by utilizing alternative technology. As required by the CSEA, NTIA has notified the FCC of these results.
“The remaining five agencies are delayed beyond their previously planned date for achieving comparable capability. The reasons for the delays include various administrative delays for the DOJ, obtaining enhanced security at specific locations for the DOI, and contractor issues for Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Department of the Treasury,” the report added. “These agencies all report they continue to spend SRF funds and now expect to complete the relocation effort and achieve comparable capability in 2017. NTIA will notify the FCC when each of the remaining five agencies have completed the relocation effort and achieved comparable capability.”
The report continued, “The total amount transferred from the SRF to the agencies was $1.55 billion. For the 12-month period ending December 2016, outlays of the eligible federal agencies totaled $38 million, bringing the total cumulative outlays to $1.35 billion dollars. Some agencies have returned or plan to return excess relocation funds totaling approximately $119 million, while other agencies will continue to expend SRF funds until they have established comparable capabilities.” —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org