Federal Government Spectrum Compendium

April 11, 2014


In order to address the nation’s growing interest in and demand for the radio spectrum, NTIA, in consultation with the federal agencies, has developed a compendium of detailed narratives describing federal spectrum uses from 225 MHz to 5 GHz.  The narratives at the links below provide information for each frequency band in this range in which the Federal Government has significant operations.  In the bands depicted, the federal agencies generally have an exclusive or shared allocation in the U.S. Table of Allocations.  However, the federal agencies also operate in some bands allocated on an exclusive basis for non-federal operations in order to perform coordinated operations with non-federal entities or to use commercial services. Summary information on federal spectrum use of other bands may be found in NTIA’s Federal Spectrum Use Summary.  The narratives below provide comprehensive information for 225 MHz to 5 GHz, the part of the spectrum receiving growing interest and demand for consumer wireless and government applications.

Federal agencies rely on the radio spectrum to perform their essential missions. Agencies use spectrum to support national security, critical defense operations, law enforcement and emergency response, homeland security, transportation safety, scientific research, environmental monitoring, electrical power distribution, and weather prediction.  By making this compendium of detailed narratives available to the public, NTIA provides a baseline, band-by-band description portraying how the federal agencies actually use the spectrum.  NTIA expects that this new information tool will be a useful resource for understanding federal spectrum uses, giving non-federal stakeholders and technology developers a better sense of the potential opportunities and obstacles for accessing any particular band.  NTIA will update the information regularly in response to the changing environment and growing interest.

Information on Federal Spectrum Usage

Each band narrative below presents publicly available information pertaining to the various federal uses, including a quantitative overview and graphical depictions of agency assignments.  Each description includes the following five sections:

  1. An introduction summarizing the types of federal usage; 
  2. An excerpt from the U.S. Table of Frequency Allocations showing the current national allocations and the relevant international and national footnotes that may authorize additional uses or impose limits on certain uses;
  3. A table listing the number and type of frequency assignments that NTIA has authorized and  a pie chart showing the percentage of frequency assignments, by general category;
  4. A summary of the major applications and systems using the frequency band or sub-bands; and
  5. A description of future uses of the band, where applicable.

Information on Non-Federal Spectrum Use

Information and data on non-federal services and uses that are authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is available from the FCC’s Spectrum Dashboard (from 225 MHz to 3.7 GHz) and licensing databases.

Go to Federal Government Spectrum Use Reports 225 MHz to 5 GHz