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Information Notice #1
NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION

Wireless Innovations in Communications Initiative

SUMMARY:

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunication and Information Administration announces the launching of the Wireless Innovations in Communications Initiative (WICI). One of the objectives of this initiative is to promote innovative developments in communications technologies and facilitate their timely application to satisfy actual communication needs in both the Federal agencies and the private sector. The scope of this initiative extends across the full range of wireless communications technologies, including fixed, mobile, radars, navigation, and satellite communications. The approach planned for conducting WICI is to establish a committee (WICI Committee) within the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) comprised of senior experts in the Federal government who understand their agency's present and future radiocommunication requirements and can envision the potential applicability of new technologies. The WICI Committee will schedule a series of meetings in which representatives from Federal agencies will discuss their communications requirements. Subsequently, developers of communications innovations will present their ideas of how to satisfy the Federal agencies' requirements.

BACKGROUND

Federal agencies, considered collectively, are among the largest users of communications services in the United States. Although many of these services are provided by commercial providers through government contracts, the Federal government continues to own and operate significant communication facilities that perform certain mission-critical functions. Federal agencies use the radio spectrum to operate the wireless portions of these Government-operated communications facilities. Because of the growing public and private sector requirements for use the spectrum, there is an urgent need to ensure that this limited national resource is used effectively and efficiently. WICI is intended to promote the development of innovations in wireless communications and systematically examine their applicability to actual communications requirements.

The basis of wireless communications is the use of radio frequencies. NTIA manages the use of the radio frequency spectrum by Federal agencies to satisfy their radiocommunication requirements. To implement this initiative, NTIA plans to establish a committee (WICI Committee) within the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) comprised of senior experts in the Federal government who understand their agency's present and future radiocommunication requirements and can envision the potential applicability of new technologies. The WICI Committee will work with private sector industry representatives to identify wireless communications innovations and new spectrum management approaches that will enable Federal agency users to satisfy their communications needs more effectively and efficiently, and to encourage private sector innovation and greater public/private cooperation.

The term "wireless communications" is used here in a broad sense encompass a full range of wireless communications that are conducted without the use of wires, cables, or glass fibers. This initiative will focus on both the applicability of identified communications innovations and on the barriers, if any, to their implementation.

As now envisioned the WICI Committee will address the following types of radiocommunication services in a series of meetings.

(1) Land Mobile
(2) Radionavigation
(3) Satellite Communications
(4) Radiolocation
(5) Telemetry
(6) Fixed
(7) Other services.
Meeting dates and agendas for these meetings will be posted on the NTIA web page at http://www.ntia.doc.gov. In addition, a listserver will be established to further promote the exchange of information between Federal agency representatives and the developers of communications innovations.

Requests from interested Industry Representatives to: (1) participate in WICI Committee meetings where Federal agency communications requirements are presented; and (2) make presentations of communications innovations at the Committee meetings (include the type(s) of radiocommunication services from the list above that you intend to brief), should be directed to

NTIA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Room 4099, 1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230

by March 28, 2000. The WICI Committee will schedule appointments for presentation or briefings at times and locations mutually convenient for the Committee and interested Industry Representatives. For further information regarding this initiative, please contact Mr. Derrick Owens, Office of the Assistant Secretary, NTIA, 202/482-0156.


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