FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 25, 1997
CONTACT: Paige Darden
NTIA ADVISORY COMMITTEE RELEASES REPORT ON
RELOCATION OF FEDERAL SPECTRUM USERS
WASHINGTON, DC -- An advisory committee of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today released a report regarding policy considerations relevant to the transfer of Federal government spectrum to the private sector. The report, Federal Government Spectrum Relocation Implementation, is a result of the Spectrum Planning and Policy Advisory Committee's (SPAC) efforts to study spectrum issues and advise NTIA on the problems inherent in the reallocation of Federal government spectrum.
The report concluded that new, undefined commercial service systems
could present considerable difficulty for Federal agencies due to potential
interference problems. The report also states that sharing of "mixed-use"
frequency bands, particularly by non-commercial industrial, business entities,
is a viable solution as "there is an ingrained "symmetry"
between such private internal systems and those operated by Federal agencies."
According to the report, successful sharing correlates strongly with the
similarities of type and usage patterns of the spectrum users -- the more
closely matched the spectrum users are, the greater probability that they
will be able to work out mutually compatible methods and rules of sharing.
The SPAC report discusses the operational integrity of Federal agency
radio systems, relocation options (reimbursement alternatives, reaccommodation
expenditures, etc.), frequency sharing optimization within mixed frequency
bands, and public interest considerations.
Finally, the report recommends that in those instances where Federal
government systems must be relocated to other bands or retuned, a five-year
transition period is suggested for the move to be completed. This is due
to the reality that efforts to retune or relocate Federal government systems
is estimated to cost in excess of $460 million.
"Given the demands that have been placed on the Federal government
to make more spectrum available for the private sector, the release of
this report is quite timely," said Mark E. Crosby, president of the
Industrial Telecommunications Association and chairman of the SPAC Task
Force that authored this report. "We hope that national telecommunications
regulators will carefully consider the report's guidance and will exhaust
all possible alternatives, including the shared use of this valuable spectrum
by private wireless entities, during the course of continued deliberations
on this matter."
Richard D. Parlow, administrator of NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management
and SPAC chairman, said "I am pleased to have the spectrum policy
review and advice from the SPAC on this subject, NTIA recognizes that retuning
or relocating Federal government systems and sharing in mixed-use frequency
bands is neither cheap nor easily accomplished, and we appreciate your
thoughtful advice on this important issue."
The SPAC functions solely as an advisory body, in accordance with the
provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. It is made of 15 members
from the private sector and academia and four representatives of the Federal
government. Its principal function is to advise the Secretary of Commerce
through NTIA on radio frequency allocations and assignment planning, on
means by which the effectiveness of the Federal government spectrum management
may be enhanced, and during preparations for international conferences
and other activities involving spectrum and telecommunications policy.
For more information about the SPAC, please call Richard Lancaster,
of NTIA's OSM, at 202-482-4487. The SPAC report can be viewed on the NTIA
home page at http://www.ntia.doc.gov; hard copies of the report are available
by calling Mary Wallach, NTIA's
Office of Public Affairs, at 202-482-3999.
The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information
Administration serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President
and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications
and information issues.