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NTIA Report Finds Viable Options for Spectrum Sharing in 3450-3550 MHz Band

January 27, 2020 by Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator of the Office of Spectrum Management

Spectrum sharing strategies hold great promise for meeting the growing needs of commercial and federal users.  This is an area of intense study at NTIA as we seek to protect critical federal missions while enabling new commercial opportunities. As part of an assessment conducted with the Department of Defense, we are happy to announce significant progress in finding potential spectrum sharing options for the 3450-3550 MHz band, as outlined in a new technical report.

Federal operations in the 3450-3550 MHz band include shipborne, airborne, and land-based systems — primarily radars. Our report points to a clear possibility for real time spectrum sharing that would protect these critical missions, while providing attractive opportunities for commercial business. The report analyzes the potential for these federal systems to share spectrum with outdoor base stations, indoor access points, and mobile user equipment.

The report assesses two hypothetical commercial deployments, operating at various power levels, which industry has said would be desirable. The next step would be to study how often each of the federal systems actually is used, and then develop mechanisms for reliably informing commercial operations when federal systems are operating nearby.

Celebrating 2019 Successes in 5G, Broadband, Security and Public Safety

December 30, 2019 by Doug Kinkoph, performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information

As we close the books on 2019, NTIA took stock of strides made in the past year on key Administration priorities. Topping the list is our work to make spectrum available for 5G, including completing engineering work to put critical mid-band spectrum to use in the 3.5 GHz band. NTIA also is proud of our work with government partners to enhance broadband connectivity, improve technology equipment in 911 call centers, and secure networks from cyber threats.

Ensuring U.S. Leadership in 5G, Broadband Opportunities

NTIA took a number of steps to support the Administration’s goal to advance 5G leadership and expand broadband connectivity around the country. We worked with the Department of Commerce to take stock of our spectrum assets and plan for future needs. Nearly 5.9 gigahertz of spectrum has been made available for licensed wireless services, including 5G, according to our report on efforts to re-purpose spectrum for commercial use.

We were excited to see the long-awaited initial commercial deployments of broadband wireless services in the 3.5 GHz band, after years of groundbreaking engineering work and testing by NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management and the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences.

Stakeholders Prepare for Further Work on Software Transparency in 2020

December 19, 2019 by Allan Friedman, Director of Cybersecurity Initiatives, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

Participants in NTIA’s software security multistakeholder effort made significant progress this year, publishing the first set of community-drafted documents to offer guidance around the practice of a software bill of materials (SBOM). The SBOM functions as a “list of ingredients” for software that can help organizations keep track of the underlying components that make up almost all software today.

We are excited that the broader community is already using these resources, and we’re looking forward to refining the concept at the technical level. During the most recent meeting in November, the community agreed to continue their work in 2020, with a focus on making transparency an easy-to-use feature of the software marketplace.

Moving forward, in four parallel work streams, stakeholders plan to:

NTIA Celebrates 25 Years of Internet Use Survey Research

December 02, 2019 by by Diane Rinaldo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Acting NTIA Administrator

We’re excited to celebrate the quarter-century birthday of our partnership with the Census Bureau on a survey about consumer use of computers and the Internet! Last month, across all fifty states and the District of Columbia, Census interviewers talked to 52,000 households for this comprehensive survey, which collects data every two years on who goes online, what computing devices and technologies people use, and what challenges prevent some Americans from taking full advantage of the digital age.

The NTIA Internet Use Survey is unique among national household surveys in this field due to its combination of in-depth questions, a large sample size that enables demographic and state-by-state estimates, and use of Census Bureau expertise and resources.

The Census Bureau administers the NTIA Internet Use Survey as a supplement to its Current Population Survey (CPS), which serves as a source of some of our nation’s official labor force statistics, including the monthly national unemployment rate. The Census Bureau has been conducting the CPS every month since the 1940s. The CPS survey will help NTIA’s researchers gain insights on a range of demographic and labor force information in each of the surveyed households, in addition to the information yielded from the supplemental Internet Use Survey questions.

ITS to Present Precision Measurements Tutorial at IEEE Conference

November 19, 2019 by NTIA

Every initiative to expand spectrum use and efficiency relies on predictions of how far a wireless signal will travel, or propagate, before interfering with another user or fading away. Unlocking the full potential of spectrum resources requires a deep understanding of radio wave behavior, and accurate propagation models, so that systems can be designed to coexist in a crowded environment.

High-precision measurements are key to creating and validating radio propagation models. NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) and its predecessors have been collecting measurement data for more than a century, creating a unique expertise in measurement science and techniques. Last year, NTIA released a technical memorandum on “Best Practices for Radio Propagation Measurements.”

Radio-wave signal measurement

(Figure 1 depicts radio-wave signal measurements) 

In December, ITS researchers, along with other experts from the Federal Communications Commission and the United States Naval Academy, will present a tutorial on precision radio propagation measurements at the 2019 IEEE Global Communications Conference.

Digital Divide is Shrinking for America’s Hispanic Population, NTIA Data Show

October 28, 2019 by Rafi Goldberg, Amy Robinson, and Edward Carlson

Internet use among Hispanic Americans has continued to grow, according to NTIA data, narrowing a racial disparity that has existed since NTIA began tracking adoption through its Internet Use Surveys in 1998.

The proportion of Hispanic Americans using the Internet has risen from 61 percent in 2013 and 66 percent in 2015 to 72 percent in 2017, NTIA data show.

Although this is still less than the 80 percent of non-Hispanic Whites online in 2017, the gap has begun to narrow. Internet usage rates for Hispanics are now similar to African Americans, who have also experienced gains in Internet use in recent years (see Figure 1).

graphic: internet use by race or ethnicity

In a previous analysis of the challenges faced by Hispanic Americans, NTIA found that language barriers and immigration patterns were associated with lower rates of Internet use. But while immigrants continued to be less likely to go online than their U.S.-born peers in 2017, the differences appear to be shrinking. Internet use among non-U.S. citizens jumped by 11 percentage points between 2013 and 2017, from 62 percent to 73 percent, and adoption among naturalized citizens climbed from 68 percent to 75 percent during this period.

Lower Internet adoption rates among immigrants disappear by second generation

NTIA Releases New Broadband Availability Map Pilot for Policymakers

October 02, 2019 by Andy Spurgeon, Chief, Operations Division, Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications

One of the most significant challenges to expanding broadband connectivity is determining which parts of the country remain unconnected. Getting this information would help states and local communities – and the providers they work with -- more accurately understand where new infrastructure is needed.

Last year, Congress asked NTIA to develop a National Broadband Availability Map to address this problem. Working with an initial group of eight states, we’ve released a pilot version of the map, a geographic information system platform that allows for the visualization of federal, state, and commercially available data sets. The map will be made available exclusively to state and federal partners, as it includes non-public data that may be business sensitive or have licensing restrictions.

The eight partner states include California, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Utah. These states participate in NTIA’s State Broadband Leaders Network, and have active broadband plans or programs. As the pilot moves forward, NTIA will test the map's functionality and expand it to other states, and add data from additional partners, federal agencies, industry and accessible commercial datasets.

The National Broadband Availability Map also includes data that the Federal Communications Commission collects twice a year, as well as other federal and non-federal datasets that can inform broadband planning and policy-making.

Moving Toward a More Transparent Software Supply Chain

September 30, 2019 by Allan Friedman, Director of Cybersecurity Initiatives, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

Earlier this month, NTIA convened the latest in a series of multistakeholder meetings on software component transparency. For more than a year, stakeholders have been exploring this issue through four working groups established during the July 2018 kickoff meeting. The broader community meets periodically to share progress and encourage feedback through in-person and virtual meetings.

Most modern software is not written completely from scratch, but includes existing components, modules, and libraries from the open source and commercial software world. Modern development practices such as code reuse, and a dynamic IT marketplace with acquisitions and mergers, make it challenging to track the use of software components.

The Internet of Things and the emergence of Cyber-Physical Systems, which integrate computation, networking, and physical processes, compound this phenomenon, as new organizations, enterprises and innovators take on the role of software developer to add “smart” features or connectivity to their products. Although the majority of libraries and components do not have known vulnerabilities, the sheer quantity of software means that some software products ship with vulnerable or out-of-date components.

Newly Convened CSMAC to Hold Public Meeting Oct. 1

September 10, 2019 by NTIA

The first meeting of newly appointed members of the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee will be held on Oct. 1. The committee includes 30 outside experts who advise the Assistant Secretary of Commerce on a range of spectrum policy and technology issues. Two co-chairs lead the committee: Jennifer Warren, Vice President, Technology Policy & Regulation, Lockheed Martin; and Charla Rath, independent consultant and former Verizon executive.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross selected the committee members based on their technical background and expertise, as well as a diversity and balance in points of view, consistent with the CSMAC Membership Balance Plan. The Oct. 1 meeting will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (EDT) at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, 1111 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington D.C.

For further information on the meeting, contact David J. Reed, Designated Federal Officer, at (202) 482-5955 or dreed@ntia.doc.gov; and/or visit NTIA's website at https://www.ntia.doc.gov/category/csmac. An agenda will be published prior to the meeting, which is open to the public.

NTIA Data: Two-thirds of U.S. Internet Users Do Not Participate in the Sharing Economy

August 21, 2019 by By Amy Robinson, Intern, and Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

The Internet has fundamentally reshaped how Americans live, work and communicate. These changes have become more pronounced with speedier wireless Internet services, and increased use of mobile devices. One recent trend is the emergent “sharing economy” where people are buying, selling and trading goods and services with each other. Examples including ride-hailing services, lodging and e-commerce.

In our most recent Internet Use Survey, conducted in 2017, NTIA included questions about participation in the sharing economy for the first time. The results show that a third of Internet users in the U.S. reported selling goods or requesting or offering services from others through online platforms. This compares with the significant majority of Internet users – 69 percent – who reported using the Internet for more traditional e-commerce activities such as online shopping or travel reservations.

Sharing economy participants tend to be younger, have higher incomes and education levels, and live in metropolitan areas, our data reveal.

Internet users were also much more likely to request sharing, or peer-to-peer, services than provide their own services or sell goods. While 26 percent reported requesting services, only 6 percent of Internet users offered their own services and 11 percent reported selling their own goods online.

Exploring demographics

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