NTIA Gives Agencies Guidance on Reporting Future Spectrum Needs

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has provided guidance to federal agencies to submit reports on their anticipated future spectrum requirements pursuant to a memorandum signed by President Trump last month directing the executive branch to develop a national spectrum strategy (TR Daily, Oct. 25).

In a memo dated Wednesday and released today, NTIA Administrator David J. Redl told agencies that they must submit initial reports by Feb. 21, 2019, and final reports by April 23, 2019, on their spectrum needs over the next 15 years.

“The federal spectrum assessment is one of several tasks in the Presidential Memorandum aimed at building a sustainable, forward-looking national strategy to ensure America’s continued leadership across technology sectors. Transparency in how spectrum is being utilized and collaboration among stakeholders are key elements of the Administration’s approach,” Mr. Redl said. “To that end, NTIA intends to post a public summary of the reports on its website to the extent permitted by law.”

“For this task, NTIA defines ‘future spectrum requirements’ as any additional spectrum access required when planned systems become operationally fielded during the time period specified below,” Mr. Redl said. “A planned system is a spectrum-dependent, communications- or noncommunications-based system that is at one of several stages of actual development (e.g., conceptual, research, testing, etc.), but is not yet operational. As such, a planned system does not yet have, but will need, final authorization to operate via NTIA’s spectrum certification and/or frequency assignment processes. It is important to ensure that future spectrum requirements are based on tangible and documented needs for each planned system. NTIA therefore requests that each agency provide requirements-type technical information and supporting documentation demonstrating, for example, that specific operating features have been identified, budgets have been approved for system-specific research and development, plans are in place for early-stage testing and evaluation, or significant steps have been taken toward acquisition and procurement of the planned system.”

The memo also said that “[i]n the spirit of the transparency and innovation objectives of the President’s memorandum, NTIA plans to establish an enduring process for the continued reporting of future spectrum requirements and current spectrum usage in order to ensure this information is reasonably up to date and to track development of advanced technologies.”

“A complete understanding of future spectrum requirements must also include spectrum access necessary to support the continued use of currently authorized and operating spectrum-dependent systems, as they may continue to operate for many years. NTIA will seek and collect information on these current systems under a separate task, and NTIA will provide separate guidance for identifying and quantifying spectrum usage of current systems in accordance with the President’s memorandum,” according to the memo. “This initial effort focuses on identifying spectrum requirements for new systems or anticipated future upgrades or enhancements of existing systems that will require access to additional or different spectrum resources. For the purposes of this initial effort, such system enhancements or upgrades include those that involve any significant changes (increases or decreases) in the amount of spectrum required or any changes in the frequency bands that will be used.”

Scott Bergmann, CTIA’s senior vice president—regulatory affairs said of the guidance released by NTIA, “We’re pleased to see the administration continue to move forward on developing a national spectrum strategy. It’s important to find new ways to address government needs, and free up more spectrum for commercial use. Administrator Redl is to be commended for his continued leadership on these critical issues.” —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily