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NTIA Launches C-SCRIP Information-Sharing Program

October 12, 2021 by Evelyn Remaley, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information

This month, NTIA’s Communications Supply Chain Risk Information Partnership (C-SCRIP) is beginning a broad public outreach program by sending out its first C-SCRIP Update newsletter to inform our partners about events, announcements, and funding opportunities related to supply chain security. The first Update contains information on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Reimbursement Program and recent Open RAN Showcase, as well as NTIA resources on broadband grants and Software Bill of Materials. 

The C-SCRIP information-sharing program demonstrates NTIA’s commitment to assisting small, medium, and rural communications companies with the identification and management of supply chain risks. Congress tasked NTIA with creating C-SCRIP to facilitate the sharing of security risk information between the federal government, trusted providers of advanced telecommunications services, and suppliers of communications equipment and services. 

With the launch of the C-SCRIP Update, we are transitioning to the next phase of our C-SCRIP implementation. This phase will feature regular communications with stakeholders, including in-person briefings and conference showcases. As the program matures, C-SCRIP will work with stakeholders to refine what information will be shared in order to assist the community’s efforts in securing U.S. communications networks against supply chain threats.

NTIA’s 2021 Spectrum Policy Symposium Showcases Cooperation Among Key Decision-Makers

October 04, 2021 by Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management

NTIA’s 2021 Spectrum Policy Symposium brought together key policymakers and industry experts to explore how a “whole of government” approach to spectrum policy can address U.S. priorities for 21st century global leadership. 

The event featured as keynote speakers U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike F. Doyle Jr. (D-Pa.), and Acting Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. Each of them highlighted the importance of spectrum to the economy, U.S. technological leadership, innovation, and federal government missions.

In addition, the event’s afternoon sessions featured a preview of the 2022 International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies (ISART), which NTIA’s Boulder, Colorado-based Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) plans to convene in the spring of next year. During the preview, ITS issued a call for papers to further the development of spectrum-sharing assessments through analyses driven by data, science and technology.

Throughout the keynotes and the accompanying panel discussions, policymakers and experts underlined the key themes of cooperation, technological innovation, and engineering-driven spectrum management solutions to spur America’s economic and infrastructure growth.     

NTIA to Host Virtual Spectrum Policy Symposium, ISART Preview on Sept. 21

August 17, 2021 by NTIA

NTIA invites all interested parties to the 2021 NTIA Spectrum Policy Symposium, NTIA’s fourth annual spectrum event, on Sept. 21. This year’s symposium, under the theme “Modernizing U.S. Spectrum Strategy and Infrastructure,” will tackle the leading policy and technical issues that will drive spectrum use for years to come.

Key leaders from the Biden Administration, Congress, federal agencies, and the private and non-public sectors have been invited to share their views on spectrum policy priorities, efforts to repurpose spectrum for 5G and other innovative uses, the modernization of spectrum management systems, and more.  Spectrum strategies will be a key component of the Biden Administration’s efforts to close the digital divide and ensure American competitiveness in a high-tech future. Frequency allocations and spectrum sharing help pave the way for next-generation wireless broadband networks, machine-to-machine communications, intelligent transportation applications and other advanced technologies.

How ITS Uses Machine Learning to Measure and Improve Speech Quality

August 13, 2021 by NTIA

When public safety professionals use telecommunications systems to communicate with one another, it’s easy for them to tell when there’s an issue with the signals—they hear distorted sound, static or interruptions, to name a few examples.

Fixing these issues is much tougher. As the amount of spectrum used to transmit speech decreases, so do speech quality and intelligibility. A reliable system for measuring speech quality and intelligibility is required to optimize the two quantities—adjusting bandwidth use to efficiently deliver acceptable quality and intelligibility.

Unfortunately, measurements using human listeners are time-consuming and expensive. Existing automated measurements are fast, but require systems to be taken offline to be tested. Improving these kinds of measurements would lead to more reliable and efficient telecommunications systems. This is especially critical for systems used by first responders, when clear voice communications can save lives.

To make maximally efficient use of radio spectrum, industry and government need a measurement method that can be deployed to in-service networks without needing access to the original signal for comparison. In other words, a machine that can learn to do what humans do effortlessly: judge the quality of a speech signal when it arrives at the end of the transmission channel without knowing anything about what it sounded like when it started. This is called a no-reference, or NR, measurement.

NTIA Releases Minimum Elements for a Software Bill of Materials

July 12, 2021 by Allan Friedman, Director of Cybersecurity Initiatives

In his Executive Order (EO) on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, President Biden identified the prevention, detection, assessment and remediation of cyber incidents as a top priority of his Administration. The Commerce Department and NTIA were directed by the EO to publish the minimum elements for a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM), a key tool to help create a more transparent and secure software supply chain. As the President notes, “the trust we place in our digital infrastructure should be proportional to how trustworthy and transparent that infrastructure is.”

An SBOM provides those who produce, purchase, and operate software with information that enhances their understanding of the supply chain. Though an SBOM won’t solve all software security problems, it offers the potential to track known newly emerged vulnerabilities and risks, and it can form a foundational data layer on which further security tools, practices, and assurances can be built.

NTIA Releases Comprehensive Review of U.S. Space-based Operations and Spectrum Use

July 09, 2021 by Charles Cooper, Associate Administrator, Office of Spectrum Management

Every day, Americans depend on space-based technologies, which power navigation services, accurate weather forecasts, rural Internet access, public safety communications, national security objectives, and more. All of these technologies depend on a key public resource – radiofrequency spectrum – both for controlling space operations and for relaying communications and data to and from Earth.

Today, NTIA released a first-of-its-kind report documenting the wide array of current and projected spectrum uses by space-based systems. The report, titled “The Spectrum Needs of U.S.-Based Space Operations,” will help inform policymakers and others regarding the key roles these systems perform.

The report highlights the economic, social and life-saving benefits of the communications, remote sensing, radio astronomy, and position, navigation, and timing services that these systems provide. A recent review by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis found the U.S. space economy added $108.9 billion in value to the current-dollar GDP.

President’s Budget Calls for Investments in Broadband, Securing Supply Chains, and Wireless Research

June 01, 2021 by NTIA

At NTIA and the Department of Commerce, we are focused on expanding the use of broadband and spectrum, strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity defenses, improving public safety communications, and helping American workers and businesses compete in the 21st century.

President Biden’s budget for the 2022 fiscal year, released on Friday, is designed to support these goals. The President’s budget calls for increased investments to better secure the telecommunications supply chain, expand high-speed broadband access and adoption, and increase advanced wireless research to power future generations of technology.

The overall FY 2022 budget request for NTIA is $89.5 million, which covers 189 positions.

Securing the Supply Chain

The President’s budget asks for a total of $15.6 million for NTIA’s domestic and international policy programs, which work to preserve a free and open Internet that can serve as an engine for economic growth.

The request includes an additional $4 million to allow NTIA to contribute to securing the information and communications technology and services (ICTS) supply chain. The ICTS supply chain, which is relied on by U.S. businesses and government at all levels, is critical to every aspect of America's national and economic security.

NTIA Seeks Feedback on Draft Questionnaire for Next Internet Use Survey

May 26, 2021 by Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

For more than a quarter-century, NTIA’s Internet Use Survey has provided the public with information about the digital divide and how Americans’ use of computers and the Internet has grown and changed over time.

Since 1994, NTIA has partnered with the Census Bureau 15 times to field this vital data collection to inform policymakers and enable important research. Our most recent survey went out in November 2019, and we’re pleased to be working with the Census Bureau again to conduct the next NTIA Internet Use Survey in November 2021. This will be a great opportunity to understand how computer and Internet use in America changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to create better informed solutions that improve the state of digital equity in America, NTIA is always looking for ways to improve the questions asked in our survey. As technologies and our understanding of policy challenges evolve, we try to keep our survey evolving as well, while also preserving the ability to track changes over time.

Today, we are soliciting public comment on our draft questionnaire. Feedback on this draft will build on the comments we received last summer, when NTIA, for the first time ever, published a Request for Comments asking researchers, advocates, and other interested members of the public to tell us how to improve the NTIA Internet Use Survey.

National Broadband Availability Map Now Has 36 State Participants

May 17, 2021 by NTIA

NTIA’s National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM) recently added Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, and South Dakota to its growing roster of state participants. To date, the NBAM includes 36 states and four federal agencies: US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

The NBAM is a geographic information system platform which allows for the visualization and analysis of federal, state, and commercially available data sets. This includes data from the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Census Bureau, Universal Service Administrative Company, USDA, Ookla, Measurement Lab, BroadbandNow, White Star, and the state governments. The mapping platform provides users, including administrators from the 36 participating states, with access to the NBAM and its data to better inform broadband projects and funding decisions in their states.

ITS, Air Force Conduct Flight Tests as Part of Mid-Band Sharing Experiment

May 10, 2021 by NTIA

As consumer, industry, and government demand for 5G services and applications heats up, NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is focused on finding ways to make the most efficient use of scarce spectrum resources. Many commercial providers have their eyes on so-called mid-band spectrum because it offers them the best combination of coverage, speed, and latency.  However, many U.S. government departments and agencies, including the Department of Defense (DoD), operate radar and communications platforms important to the nation’s national security and defense in those bands. A few week ago, the skies over Colorado played host to ITS experiments that will contribute to developing solutions to enable dynamic spectrum sharing between commercial and government users. 

Over the course of two hours, a U.S. Air Force high-power radar plane, operating in the 3 GHz spectrum band, repeatedly flew past the Table Mountain Radio Quiet Zone Advanced Communications Test site near Boulder. On the ground, ITS researchers collected data that will begin to shed light on how 5G cellular services might dynamically share spectrum with DoD radar systems. The high-power radar platform provides long range air surveillance; understanding how these system might interact with thousands of terrestrial 5G receivers and transmitters on the ground is essential to the long term viability of 5G networks.  While the flight crew operated the radar system in a variety of modes, ITS engineers measured the radar signals reaching the ground.

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