NTIA Applauds DoD’s Spectrum Strategy Efforts

February 20, 2014 by Karl Nebbia, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management

The U.S. Defense Department (DoD) took an important step forward today in support of the Administration’s plans to make additional spectrum available for wireless broadband, issuing a spectrum strategy document.  We applaud DoD’s efforts and look forward to continued collaboration with DoD and other federal agencies as we explore new and innovative approaches to meet the exploding demand for spectrum.

Through its Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy, DoD recognizes that meeting the military’s mission requirements amidst the growing commercial and consumer demand will require cooperation, compatibility, and flexibility.  Indeed, a key focus of its plan is to develop spectrum-dependent systems that are efficient, flexible, and adaptable in their use of the spectrum.

Recognizing the important role spectrum plays in continued innovation, job creation, and economic growth, the Administration is moving aggressively to enhance spectrum efficiency and enable access to more spectrum for consumer services and applications.  The long-term spectrum needs for government agencies and industry alike will be met primarily through sharing, and NTIA is asking for a top-to-bottom commitment from all stakeholders to make it happen.

Last November, NTIA and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) co-sponsored the first Innovative Spectrum Sharing Technology Day. Companies ranging from high-tech start-ups to well-established technology firms demonstrated the promise of spectrum-sharing technology. They showed that the spectrum-sharing concept isn’t simply “pie-in-the-sky,” it’s here today. Spectrum sharing is the new reality, and we want to encourage everyone in the industry and federal government to make continued research and development in spectrum sharing a top priority.

Finding ways to use spectrum more efficiently through sharing is the centerpiece of President Obama’s spectrum policies. Last summer, President Obama issued a second directive to federal agencies that recognized that spectrum sharing can enhance efficiency among all users and can expedite commercial access to additional spectrum bands.  He directed the federal agencies to take a number of steps to accelerate shared access to spectrum.

We’re already making significant progress towards the President’s goal of repurposing 500 megahertz of federal and nonfederal spectrum to wireless broadband use by 2020.  NTIA has formally recommended or otherwise identified for potential reallocation up to 405 MHz of federal spectrum.

But we are not stopping there.  NTIA is continuing to seek out additional federal bands that are good candidates for shared access, reflecting the new reality of spectrum management.  We simply have no choice.

Federal and nonfederal users need to be at the table and work with us to achieve improved efficiencies by maximizing sharing of our valuable spectrum resources.  The Administration is committed to solving the significant and complex challenges that industry stakeholders and federal agencies face in achieving the more efficient use of spectrum.  This commitment is centered on developing the necessary technology innovations and policy initiatives to support a new and more collaborative way of doing business for federal spectrum.