NTIA Blog

NTIA Training Helps Federal Spectrum Managers

November 17, 2014 by NTIA

Agencies across the federal government use spectrum to perform critical functions from predicting the weather to air traffic control. But they may not be as familiar with NTIA’s role in this process and how we ensure agencies have the airwaves they need to carry out critical missions for the American people.

NTIA manages the federal government's use of spectrum, ensuring that the United States’ domestic and international spectrum needs are met while making efficient use of this limited resource. As part of this effort, twice a year we offer training in the latest tools, techniques, trends and issues to federal spectrum managers to better meet the requirements of their job.

NTIA’s Edward Drocella meets with participants at the most recent spectrum training session
NTIA’s Edward Drocella meets with participants at the most recent spectrum training session. (click for large version)

Earlier this month, we wrapped up our latest introductory-level course. It provided participants with information on the fundamentals of spectrum management, a basic technical overview of spectrum principles and terminology as well as the NTIA system and equipment certification and frequency assignment processes and procedures. It also offered hands-on demonstrations of NTIA’s spectrum management software tools and spectrum analysis modeling software.

Celebrating the Internet Every Day

October 29, 2014 by NTIA

Today we are celebrating International Internet Day, which marks the first message ever sent over the Internet 45 years ago. At NTIA, one of our main jobs every day is to maximize the societal benefits made possible by the Internet through policies and efforts that expand Internet availability and adoption.

To help us in this work, it is important to know how Americans are using and accessing the Internet. Earlier this month, NTIA released the latest installment of our Digital Nation report series, which measures American computer and Internet use. The latest data, which is based on a survey of 53,000 households collected for NTIA by the Census Bureau in October 2012, demonstrated not only how ingrained the Internet has become in Americans’ lives but that we are now a digital nation on the go. The report found:

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Spotlight on NTIA: Lynn Chadwick, Federal Program Officer, State Broadband Initiative

October 03, 2014 by NTIA

This post is part of our “Spotlight on NTIA” blog series, which is highlighting the work that NTIA employees are doing to advance NTIA’s mission of promoting broadband adoption, finding spectrum to meet the growing demand for wireless technologies, and ensuring the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth.

You could say Lynn Chadwick’s career has come full circle.

After spending the early part of her career in community radio, she found herself in 2001 once again working with community telecommunications – this time  from the federal perspective when she began working at NTIA first in the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP). Now, working as a federal program officer for NTIA’s State Broadband Initiative (SBI), Chadwick’s focus is on helping states use broadband technology to better compete in the digital economy and assist states in gathering data twice a year on the availability of broadband in their communities.

Chadwick is pictured while visiting an exhibition in London of the English artist Lynn Chadwick
Chadwick is pictured while visiting an exhibition in
London of the English artist Lynn Chadwick.

NTIA Brings a Comprehensive Approach to Community Broadband

September 11, 2014 by NTIA

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) last week hosted the second in a series of stakeholder workshops as we launch a new initiative to leverage the success of our Recovery Act broadband grant programs and support communities nationwide seeking to build their broadband capacity.

Over the past five years, NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and State Broadband Initiative have invested more than $4 billion in network infrastructure, public computer centers, digital inclusion projects and broadband mapping. These programs have taught us that closing the digital divide is a multi-pronged challenge that demands a comprehensive, holistic approach.

Addressing existing gaps requires not only network availability and robust bandwidth, but also affordable computer equipment and monthly service, effective training and useful applications. It also requires collaboration among many stakeholders, including local, state and federal officials, community leaders, industry executives, private foundations and broadband advocates.

Last week’s workshop, held in Minneapolis, brought together more than 100 stakeholders for a series of informative panel discussions, presentations and networking opportunities. Participants also met with NTIA staff, who will be providing guidance, technical assistance, funding leads and connections to help communities expand broadband access and adoption.

The agenda featured speakers from a number of successful broadband projects in the Upper Midwest, including projects funded by NTIA in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and North Dakota.

Spotlight on NTIA: Robert Denny, electronics engineer in the International Spectrum Policy Division, Office of Spectrum Management

September 02, 2014 by NTIA

This post is part of our “Spotlight on NTIA” blog series, which is highlighting the work that NTIA employees are doing to advance NTIA’s mission of promoting broadband adoption, finding spectrum to meet the growing demand for wireless technologies, and ensuring the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth.

Robert DennyRobert Denny was no stranger to NTIA when he finally decided to come to work here four months ago as an electronics engineer in the Office of Spectrum Management’s International Spectrum Policy Division.

Prior to joining NTIA, Denny spent three years at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service, where he worked on many of the same issues he now deals with at NTIA.

Denny advocates for the U.S. position on issues related to international radio regulation at the International Telecommunication Union. But even before he came to the federal government, Denny’s work in the private sector aligned with many of NTIA’s issues.

He worked as a consulting engineer for several broadcasting and wireless companies. “Over the years, I had a lot of contacts with people at NTIA,” he says, adding that when he landed at NOAA, his NTIA colleagues urged him to apply whenever there were openings at the agency. “It became apparent that we had a lot in common and [were] a good match,” Denny notes.

Denny’s work requires him to travel to Geneva several times a year, but he doesn’t mind the travel. He said he did a lot more traveling as a consultant, sometimes spending as much as a quarter of his time on the road.

Building Community Broadband in the Upper Midwest

August 04, 2014 by Douglas Kinkoph, Acting Associate Administrator, Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications

Today, we are announcing the second in a series of workshops to share lessons we have learned from our broadband grants programs with communities nationwide seeking to build their broadband capacity.

NTIA Broadband Program Supports Workforce Preparation Across the United States

August 01, 2014 by Laura Breeden, program director for public computing and broadband adoption

“It’s been great seeing people come back and say, ‘I’ve been able to get a job,’ after we helped them with sprucing up their résumé and applying for jobs online.”  - PCC Staff Member, Las Vegas Urban League

“Without this computer lab, we would not be getting people the jobs that we’re getting them. It’s just a great thing.”  - Staff Member, Workforce West Virginia

Last week, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act aimed at creating a more flexible and responsive system of workforce development to meet the needs of employers looking to fill 21st century jobs. Ensuring U.S. workers are able to compete and succeed is a key priority at the U.S. Commerce Department. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker served on a task force with Vice President Biden that recently released a report looking at solutions for making the nation’s workforce and training system more job-driven, integrated and effective.

Spotlight on NTIA: Bart Gibbon, Information Technology Engineer, Office of Policy Coordination and Management

July 31, 2014 by NTIA

This post is part of our “Spotlight on NTIA” blog series, which is highlighting the work that NTIA employees are doing to advance NTIA’s mission of promoting broadband adoption, finding spectrum to meet the growing demand for wireless technologies, and ensuring the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth.

Bart GibbonsBart Gibbon is not your average NTIA employee. He is one of a handful of employees at a remote site many NTIA employees might not have heard of before.

Gibbon is an information technology engineer at NTIA’s remote site operations in Gettysburg, Pa., where he has worked since he joined the agency in 2005. He spends his days in a different setting than the typical NTIA employee, but he says his work in the information technology department is just like that of any IT engineer. Up until two months ago, Gibbon was the sole IT employee at the Gettysburg office.

Day-to-day, Gibbon works on maintaining and enhancing the site’s capabilities by applying patches and updates to the servers and assists in responding to help desk tickets. Even though he is not in NTIA’s main Washington office, he says he spends most of his time on the phone with other NTIA employees. He also travels to the main office for meetings about every other month. 

Prior to working for NTIA, Gibbon served in the Navy for six years. After leaving the Navy, he worked from 1992-2005 as a civilian Defense Department employee to support the chief of naval operations as an electronic technician.

Working to Ensure Public Safety Has Cutting-Edge, Reliable Communications

July 25, 2014 by Stephen Fletcher, Associate Administrator, Office of Public Safety Communications
Stephen Fletcher, Associate Administrator, Office of Public Safety Communications

First responders know the deadly consequences of not having a communications network that is reliable and interoperable, a problem highlighted during the September 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.  

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is working to ensure our nation’s first responders have access to the most advanced communications when responding to an emergency or natural disaster.

NTIA is working closely with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), an independent authority within the agency, as it works towards creating a nationwide public safety broadband network. In support of that effort, NTIA also is working to ensure states are prepared to take full advantage of this network once it is deployed.

Police typing on mobile device

NTIA awarded $116 million in grants to 54 states and territories to help plan for the broadband network that FirstNet will deploy. The State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) is helping states prepare for the development and implementation of a more resilient broadband network, which will enable first responders to communicate efficiently and, consequently, save lives.

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New Technical Reports Evaluate Spectrum Sharing in 3.5 GHz Band

July 18, 2014 by NTIA

To support the Administration’s commitment to making available an additional 500 MHz of spectrum for commercial use by 2020, NTIA continues to perform and publish technical studies in bands proposed for sharing. In collaboration with a wireless technology provider, earlier this year NTIA performed ground-breaking interference-effects testing between radar signals and broadband digital communication receivers in the 3550–3650 MHz band. NTIA released two reports today that describe these measurements and analyses.

NTIA Technical Report TR-14-506, co-authored by Geoffrey A. Sanders, John E. Carroll, and Frank H. Sanders of NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences in Boulder, Colorado, and Robert L. Sole of NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management, presents the results of measurements and analyses of the effects of radar interference on prototype LTE equipment. NTIA Technical Report TR-14-507, co-authored by Frank H. Sanders, John E. Carroll, Geoffrey A. Sanders, Robert J. Achatz, and Robert L. Sole of NTIA and Lawrence S. Cohen of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, presents the results of measurements and analyses of the effects of LTE interference on a type of radar receiver that might eventually share spectrum with such systems.