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NTIA, FDA Pilot Program to Curb Access to Illegal Opioids Online Delivers Promising Results

January 19, 2021 by Jaisha Wray, Associate Administrator, Office of International Affairs

NTIA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have successfully concluded a “trusted notifier” pilot program to curb access to illegal online opioid sales by working with domain name registries. A trusted notifier is generally recognized by a registry or registrar for providing credible and accurate information about illegal or abusive website content to domain name registries and/or registrars.

The new working relationships created through the program led to nearly 30 domain names associated with websites that were offering misbranded and/or unapproved opioids for sale to U.S. consumers being rendered inaccessible via the Domain Name System. The pilot also yielded valuable insights into potential mechanisms to help in the fight against the opioid crisis.

The Department of Commerce and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in June announced the voluntary, 120-day pilot program, conducted in cooperation with three U.S. domain name registries: Verisign, Registry Services, LLC (formerly Neustar Registry Services), and Public Interest Registry.

During the pilot, which concluded in October, the FDA referred domain names for potential technical action to the registries, which administer the .com, .net, .us, .biz, and .org top level domains.

NTIA Report on Spectrum Repurposing Finds Significant Progress

January 07, 2021 by Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management

The Second Annual Report on the Status of Spectrum Repurposing, released this week, found that NTIA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have made significant spectrum available for commercial wireless services, including mid-band spectrum for 5G, during the past four years.

The 2020 repurposing report describes recent accomplishments and documents ongoing efforts to address reallocation of federal and non-federal spectrum bands in 23 band segments below 95 GHz. It also provides details for 14 low- and mid-range bands that have been repurposed or remain under consideration for repurposing.

According to the report, the U.S. has made a collective 1,130.5 megahertz of licensed mid-band spectrum ready for the U.S. industry to deploy for innovative 5G services, through a combination of reallocation, license modifications, new leasing authority, and greater regulatory flexibility. Additionally, 15,215 megahertz of unlicensed spectrum has been made available that will power the next generation of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6, and other emerging unlicensed technologies. 

States Rise to the 2020 Broadband Challenge

December 29, 2020 by NTIA

Broadband Internet access has always been a vital part of the modern economy, but much of American life has been brought online since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many aspects of our jobs, health care, education, commerce, and social lives have had to take place over the Internet.

State governments around the country responded quickly to the resulting strain on networks. They ramped up their creative problem-solving and increased their coordination with other states and the federal government. At NTIA, we have been a partner in these broadband efforts through our State Broadband Leaders Network (SBLN), a forum for states, territories, and the District of Columbia to come together to share what works, and brainstorm new ideas to bring their citizens online.

States have employed varied strategies to help keep Americans connected. Here are some highlights:

MBI Helps HBCUs and TCUs Navigate Distance Learning Regulations

December 22, 2020 by NTIA

NTIA’s Minority Broadband Initiative (MBI), in partnership with the United States Distance Learning Association and the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, recently held a teleconference to brief Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) on new Department of Education distance learning regulations due to be implemented July 1, 2021.

Participants included 256 representatives of 63 HBCUs and 24 TCUs, including distance learning coordinators, chief academic officers, chief information officers and faculty. In addition, the presidents of several institutions attended the teleconference.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges also described how the accreditation process is adapting to challenges facing schools during the pandemic. A representative from the Center for Higher Education Transformation stressed that these changes should be made consistently and that our regulatory system should help promote innovation in higher education rather than make it more difficult.

You can watch the teleconference in its entirety. For more information about the MBI, or to learn more about NTIA, follow us on Twitter @NTIAgov or visit our website at www.ntia.gov.

 

 

NTIA Pursues Innovative Spectrum Sharing Plan That Could Deliver Boost to 5G

December 15, 2020 by Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management

Incumbent Informing Capability (IIC) graphic

Wireless broadband service providers want more spectrum – and quickly – to meet ever-growing consumer demand and deploy more advanced 5G networks. Federal agencies continue to answer that call by enabling commercial access to sizable amounts of repurposed spectrum. To accomplish federal missions critical to our country, however, government agencies also need secure access to spectrum. Easy solutions to this demand are as scarce as spectrum itself – but a promising innovation soon may help. 

What if federal spectrum could be shared in some instances where agencies use it only episodically or in limited areas? That is the idea behind an innovative dynamic spectrum-sharing concept that NTIA is pioneering in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD). The project, called Incumbent Informing Capability (IIC), builds on advances that would give accelerated spectrum access to commercial 5G networks while still allowing federal agencies to accomplish their critical spectrum-dependent missions. 

More than Half of American Households Used the Internet for Health-Related Activities in 2019, NTIA Data Show

December 07, 2020 by Michelle Cao, Intern, and Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

Telemedicine and telehealth-related activities are on the rise, according to NTIA’s November 2019 Internet Use Survey, which found that more households are using the Internet to communicate with health professionals, access health records, and research health information.

Because the survey was conducted prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, it provides an important baseline for understanding the prevalence of telehealth usage among American households and the importance of Internet access for essential services.

The proportion of households that accessed health or health insurance records online grew from 30 percent in 2017 to 34 percent in 2019 (see Figure 1). Households communicating with a doctor or other health professional online grew by two percentage points, and households that researched health information online grew by one percentage point between 2017 and 2019.

Figure 1: Percent of Households Using the Internet for Health-Related Activities, 2017-2019

Our data reveal that telehealth and telemedicine users tend to have higher incomes, more education, and live in metropolitan areas. An Internet-using household in which the reference person lacked a high school diploma was half as likely as one with some college experience to research health information, such as with WebMD or similar services. The reference person is the first individual in each household who is identified as owning or renting the housing unit.

NTIA Trusted Propagation Models Help Expand Commercial Wireless Services

October 16, 2020 by Sheryl Genco, Director of the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences

Behind every wireless telecommunications decision is a prediction of how far the signal will travel and how much strength it will lose along the way. This is called propagation modelling. Propagation models drive decisions about things like how and where to deploy cell towers, what rules to establish for geographically sharing spectrum, and what kind of spectrum equipment to build. It is vital that all stakeholders trust the models being used and accept the results as sound.

This month, NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), the nation’s spectrum and communications lab, released a new official code base for the Irregular Terrain Model (ITM) for use by experts and non-experts alike.

The Federal Communications Commission Report and Order opening the 6 GHz band to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses requires that ITM be used by the automated frequency coordination  system designed to protect incumbents from commercial entrants. Under the Commission’s ruling, at specific distances ITM must be used with an appropriate clutter model as one of the factors when determining exclusion zones to protect incumbent services.

NTIA’s 2020 Spectrum Policy Symposium Spotlights Benefits of Sharing, Collaboration

October 13, 2020 by Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management

NTIA’s 2020 Spectrum Policy Symposium showcased how private-sector innovation and government support are working to advance America’s longtime leadership in wireless technologies. The third annual symposium, held virtually on September 22, brought together a broad cross-section of government policymakers and experts in the telecommunications, tech, space and aerospace industries. It featured keynote remarks from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) Director Kelvin Droegemeier, and Acting NTIA Administrator Adam Candeub.

BroadbandUSA Announces New Digital Inclusion Webpage

October 05, 2020 by NTIA

NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program has added a new digital inclusion section to its website.  This webpage compiles resources and program information from federal agencies as well as state and local governments that are working across the country to close gaps in broadband adoption and use, affordability, access to devices, and digital skills.  NTIA is particularly pleased to announce this resource during Digital Inclusion Week.

This new online resource reflects BroadbandUSA’s efforts to promote digital inclusion through technical assistance, webinars, federal partnerships, and the BroadbandUSA Digital Inclusion Leaders Network (DILN) – a cohort of local and state government practitioners who share priorities and best practices.  The digital inclusion webpage includes a Federal Resource list containing information about digital inclusion programs, publications, and data to complement the federal funding information in the BroadbandUSA Federal Funding Guide.

Nearly a Third of American Employees Worked Remotely in 2019, NTIA Data Show

September 03, 2020 by Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

This summer, NTIA reported initial results from our latest NTIA Internet Use Survey, which showed that Americans were increasingly using a larger and more varied range of devices. But with dozens of topics covered in the survey, there is a lot more we can learn from this data collection, including questions about online activities such as checking email, watching videos and participating in the sharing economy.

Two online activities of particular importance right now are remote work and taking online classes. Our data show that approximately 51 million Americans reported using the Internet to work remotely in 2019, nearly a third of the estimated 160 million Americans who were employed in November. A smaller number, about 43 million Americans, said they used the Internet to take classes or complete job training last year. That represents about 20 percent of Internet users ages 15 or older.

Although our survey was conducted in November 2019, a few months before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the results can be helpful to understanding the extent to which Americans were prepared to work and learn online.

Working Remotely

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