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NTIA Blog

U.S. Joins with OECD in Adopting Global AI Principles

May 22, 2019 by Fiona Alexander, Associate Administrator Office of International Affairs

The United States is among 42 countries to approve a new international agreement for building trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI), marking the first significant step in a global approach on this issue. Adherence to the agreement will foster innovation and trust in AI as it establishes principles for the responsible development and stewardship of AI, while ensuring respect for democratic values. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) adopted these official “Recommendations” this week at its annual ministerial meeting in Paris.

The agreement aligns with the President’s Executive Order on AI, which sets five major goals for maintaining U.S. leadership in AI, including a call to work with international partners to ensure continued innovation consistent with American values. The Executive Order also highlights the need for protecting safety, security, privacy, and confidentiality in data used for AI research and development, and the promotion of AI while upholding civil liberties, privacy, and American values.

Cutting the Cord: NTIA Data Show Shift to Streaming Video as Consumers Drop Pay-TV

May 21, 2019 by Edward Carlson, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

Americans increasingly are moving away from cable and satellite pay-TV services and opting to stream online video offerings, data from NTIA’s latest Internet Use Survey show. While most households still subscribe to cable or satellite television services, the survey shows the proportion of Internet users watching videos online has grown from 45 percent in 2013 to 70 percent in 2017.

Internet-based video services typically provide on-demand streaming from a large content library, and are not dependent on the offerings made available by any particular cable or satellite provider. The shift away from pay-TV services crosses all age groups, but younger Internet users have consistently been much more likely to watch video online than their older counterparts. For example, 86 percent of Internet users between the ages of 15 and 24 watched video online in 2017, compared with just 40 percent of users ages 65 and older (see Figure 1).

Graph showing percentages of Internet users watching videos online

Spectrum Sharing Model Gaining Ground

May 01, 2019 by NTIA

An innovative spectrum sharing model in the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band is coming closer to reality, NTIA senior spectrum advisor Derek Khlopin reported at the CBRS Alliance annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C. this week.

Since this band was initially targeted as a candidate to make available for commercial use nearly a decade ago, NTIA has engaged closely with the Department of Defense and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring the idea to fruition. The 3.5 GHz band affords an excellent mix of capacity and coverage capabilities, defining characteristics of mid-band spectrum,  making the band appealing for future 5G deployment.

NTIA’s engineers and scientists in the Office of Spectrum Management and the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) in Boulder, Colorado, have worked closely through each stage of development with their counterparts in government and the private sector. From shrinking exclusion zones into smaller protection zones to designing the concept of dynamic protection areas (DPAs) to assisting the FCC in certifying the components of the spectrum sharing mechanism, it has been a long, complex process, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter by the day.

How NTIA Research Powered a Groundbreaking Spectrum Sharing Effort

May 01, 2019 by Keith Gremban, Director of the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences

How can we get more use out of the radio spectrum? One way is by sharing radio bands between users who have never shared before. Consider radio frequencies near 3.5 GHz. Until recently, that part of the spectrum was used almost entirely by U.S. government radars, many of them on Navy aircraft carriers, enabling the same kind of air traffic control for the carriers as radars on land do at airports.

Now, we are preparing for new arrivals in the 3.5 GHz spectrum: communication systems such as cell phones. Operating on land, the new systems will be sharing frequencies with the Navy radars at sea.

More than decade ago, NTIA helped to blaze the trail for this kind of spectrum sharing when it did studies on exactly what it takes to share frequencies between regular radios and radars. Now NTIA has applied that knowledge to the new 3.5 GHz spectrum sharing. Industry and government, including NTIA, have developed a strategy to share 3.5 GHz without any interference from the new shore-based radios to the Navy’s aircraft carrier traffic control radars.

Here’s how it will work: When industry builds out a new 3.5 GHz network on shore, it will also build a network of shoreline radar detectors designed to see the Navy radar’s signal. When one of the Navy’s radars sails within about 120 miles of a detector, the station will see the radar’s signal, note its frequency, and alert the local on-shore communication network to immediately vacate that frequency.

Unplugged: NTIA Survey Finds Some Americans Still Avoid Home Internet Use

April 15, 2019 by Rafi Goldberg, Policy Analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

NTIA’s most recent Internet Use Survey depicts a rapidly evolving nation eager to take advantage of technological innovation. Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and wearables are increasingly dominating the computing landscape, as more Americans than ever use the Internet.

Yet a portion of the population still does not use the Internet at home, consistent with findings in previous NTIA and U.S. Census Bureau surveys on Internet use. According to the most recent data collected in 2017, 22 percent of U.S. households—approximately 28 million households in total—did not use the Internet from home, with most citing either lack of interest or concern about price (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Main Reason for Not Using the Internet at Home, Percent of Offline Households, 2001–2017

The proportion of offline households citing lack of need or interest has increased from 39 percent in 2009 to 58 percent in 2017, while concerns about expense has remained about the same over that time period. Meanwhile, those citing lack of adequate computing equipment decreased from 21 percent of offline households in 2009 to just 4 percent in 2017.

Progress on Software Component Transparency

April 08, 2019 by Allan Friedman, Director of Cybersecurity Initiatives, Office of Policy Analysis and Development

NTIA is hosting its fourth multistakeholder meeting April 11 on software component transparency to work on ways to enable a more secure software ecosystem. We’re excited to report that a great deal of progress has been made since the effort started eight months ago. The goal is to increase transparency around the use of third party software components so that when vulnerabilities are detected, there is a way to quickly remedy problems

The idea is that software developers and organizations can create and share a “software bill of materials” (SBOM) that lists the components that make up software – a concept somewhat similar to food ingredient lists for every product on grocery store shelves.

Since first beginning this work in July 2018, the group has reached broad consensus around the basic value of a software bill of materials. Several working groups are digging into the details of how this would work, and studying what a more secure future can look like if stakeholders widely adopt SBOM across the Internet ecosystem.

Digital Economy Accounted for 6.9 Percent of GDP in 2017

April 05, 2019 by NTIA

This blog was cross-posted on BEA's website.

The digital economy accounted for 6.9 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, or $1.35 trillion, in 2017, according to a new batch of statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis

How does that compare with traditional U.S. industries? The digital economy ranked just below professional, scientific, and technical services, which accounted for 7.4 percent of GDP, and just above wholesale trade, with a 6.0 percent share. 

BEA chart

New BEA data also show that:

Supporting the President’s Call to Action Against Opioid Abuse

April 03, 2019 by David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator

Fighting opioid abuse is a major priority of the Trump Administration. Nearly $6 billion in new funding over the past two years has gone into multiple programs to stop the flow of these dangerous drugs, and help those struggling with addiction. The President’s call to action resulted in the Justice Department’s shutting down the largest “darknet” for the online distribution of drugs in 2017.

We’re proud to announce a new step in the online battle against illegal opioid distribution. The Food and Drug Administration and NTIA have joined in a novel approach to work with domain name industry players to curb online availability and sales of illegal opioids.

As part of the effort, Neustar, the company that administers the .us top level domain on behalf of the Department of Commerce, announced it will step up enforcement of those who violate its existing ban on the sale or distribution of illegal opioids.

NTIA is Seeking New Member for FirstNet Board

April 17, 2019 by NTIA

NTIA, on behalf of the First Responder Network Authority, is seeking a new board member for a seat that will become vacant in August, according to a Federal Register notice. The 15-member FirstNet board includes 12 non-permanent members, the Secretary of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney General and Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Prospective candidates must have expertise or experience in at least one of the following areas: public safety, network, technical, and financial. Expressions of interest must be postmarked or electronically transmitted on or before April 26, 2019.

American Broadband Initiative to Expand Connectivity for all Americans

February 13, 2019 by David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator

 

ABI logo

 

Expanding America’s broadband connectivity is critical to our nation’s economy, and a top priority for President Trump and the Department of Commerce. Today, we join with our partners in government to announce the American Broadband Initiative (ABI), a comprehensive effort to stimulate increased private sector investment in broadband.

NTIA is proud to share leadership of the ABI, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the White House Offices of American Innovation, Management and Budget, Science and Technology Policy, and the National Economic Council. In a report released today, over 20 federal agencies set out strategies for streamlining federal permitting, leveraging federal assets, and maximizing the effectiveness of federal funding for broadband.

We congratulate the Department of Interior on the launch of the new Joint Overview Established Location Map, which pulls data related to federal lands and assets from multiple agencies into a single map. This map will help the broadband industry more easily identify the location of available assets. It is an important first step in one of the Initiative’s core priorities: making it easier for the private sector to leverage federal assets to promote investment.

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