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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.

NTIA Honors the Telecommunicators that Power America’s 911 System

April 13, 2021 by NTIA

Every day, across our country, Americans facing emergencies contact 911 with the expectation that their call will be heard and someone will be dispatched quickly to render aid. The professional public safety telecommunicators that keep our 911 system running are the lifeline between the public and our first responders. 

This week, April 11 to 17, is recognized as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and NTIA is proud to honor and thank the thousands of telecommunicators across the nation who answer the call of service to help their fellow Americans when they are most in need.

Public safety telecommunicators field more than 240 million calls each year, streamlining emergency responses and serving as a calming voice as they ensure that the day’s crises and challenges are met. This year, we also recognize that emergency call centers have been operating under pandemic-related restrictions, with depleted staff, while continuing to serve the many people affected by COVID-19.

NTIA, FCC Experts Will Support the National Science Foundation’s Spectrum Innovation Initiative

March 01, 2021 by NTIA

Earlier this year, NTIA entered into an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support the NSF’s Spectrum Innovation Initiative. The agreement facilitates expert staff from the FCC and NTIA, including the Office of Spectrum Management and the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences, sharing their expertise to help ensure that NSF investments in spectrum research, infrastructure, and workforce development align with U.S. spectrum regulatory and policy objectives, principles, and strategies.

“Spectrum is the backbone of America’s wireless leadership, and we applaud NSF’s investments in spectrum research and development,” said Evelyn Remaley, Acting NTIA Administrator.  “Engaging with spectrum experts from the FCC, NTIA and the NSF on high-impact, cutting-edge research is important to American competitiveness and spectrum sharing.”

NSF launched the Spectrum Innovation Initiative last year to seek research and development improvements in spectrum flexibility and agility, spectrum awareness in near real-time, and secure and autonomous spectrum decision-making that would increase spectrum efficiency and effectiveness.

Championing the Nation’s Spectrum Engineers: NTIA and ITS Celebrate Engineers Week

February 24, 2021 by Dr. Sheryl Genco, ITS Director

Today marks the beginning of Engineers Week, a very special week recognizing NTIA’s critical national resource: Spectrum Engineers. Across our workforce in DC and our Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) lab in Boulder, CO, 62 talented and dedicated engineers propel our vital mission forward. ITS is NTIA’s research and engineering laboratory. The engineers that work at ITS apply their expertise so that the U.S. can realize the full potential of telecom and drive a new era of innovation, development, and productivity. Alongside their colleagues in our Office of Spectrum Management, ITS engineers are at the forefront of spectrum research and help lead America’s race to deploy 5G technologies and beyond.

As an engineer myself, I am honored to be the first female director in ITS’ 100 year history. Engineers Week is a 70 year old tradition to foster participation in engineering careers. I believe deeply in the power that STEM careers and education can have on individuals and society, and we at ITS and NTIA remain committed to help ensure that those opportunities are available to anyone with the drive and talent necessary. Regardless of background, each of our engineers is focused on one mission: ADVANCE innovation in communications technologies, INFORM spectrum and communications policy for the benefit of all stakeholders, and INVESTIGATE our Nation’s most pressing telecommunications challenges through research that employees are proud to deliver.

NTIA’s NBAM Reaches 30 State Milestone

February 24, 2021 by NTIA

Over the last few months, NTIA’s National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM) added Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Montana, New York, Oklahoma and Vermont to its growing roster of state participants. To date, the NBAM includes 30 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, and the state governments. The mapping platform provides users, including administrators from the 30 participating states, with access to the NBAM and its data to better inform broadband projects and funding decisions in their states.

With more states joining, the NBAM is another step closer to creating a national platform that can help inform policymakers and expand Internet coverage across the United States.

For questions, please email: nbam@ntia.gov.

NTIA Leads International 5G Policy Training Event

February 17, 2021 by Jaisha Wray, Associate Administrator, Office of International Affairs

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI) held a virtual joint seminar on 5G from January 12-14, 2021. Hundreds of participants, representing fifty countries, tuned in throughout the training. Senior officials from across the United States government explained their respective roles in our nation’s 5G policymaking process. Several presenters noted the importance of secure and diverse supply chains to developed and developing countries. Additional speakers from industry, civil society, and foreign governments contributed their own policy insights and experiences.

The first day of the seminar focused on how the recently released U.S. National Strategy to Secure 5G and its Implementation Plan were developed. The next day included detailed overviews of spectrum issues and risk considerations when building a secure 5G network. Additionally, the Embassy of the Czech Republic highlighted the goals of the “Prague Proposals” on 5G security, which seek to clarify the risks of untrustworthy vendors and the benefits of adopting best practices to secure 5G networks. The Prague Proposals have been endorsed by a number of countries, including the United States, with efforts now directed toward the creation of a repository of best practices. 

NTIA Announces Tribal Consultations on New Program to Increase Broadband Access Across Indian Country

February 05, 2021 by NTIA

NTIA is committed to increasing broadband Internet access across America, particularly in unserved and underserved communities. The recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provides new sources of tribal broadband funding to assist in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which is exacerbating the digital divide across Indian Country.  With the designated funding, NTIA is in the process of developing the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) that will make grants available to eligible entities as quickly as possible.  In order to ensure the TBCP is as effective as possible, NTIA will be holding virtual Tribal Consultation sessions on February 5, 10, and 12, 2021.

NTIA is committed to holding Tribal Consultation sessions expeditiously to ensure that tribal input informs the new grant program prior to the application process.  Tribal leadership or their designees are invited to participate in the virtual Tribal Consultations to provide their advice and insights as NTIA staff work through the critical issues related to the program.

The $1 billion TBCP will provide funding for the following:

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:

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