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Spectrum Management

Many Federal agencies use radio frequency spectrum to perform vital operations. NTIA manages the Federal government's use of spectrum, ensuring that America's domestic and international spectrum needs are met while making efficient use of this limited resource. NTIA carries out this responsibility with assistance and advice from the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee and by:

  • establishing and issuing policy regarding allocations and regulations governing the Federal spectrum use;
  • developing plans for the peacetime and wartime use of the spectrum;
  • preparing for, participating in, and implementing the results of international radio conferences;
  • assigning frequencies;
  • maintaining spectrum use databases;
  • reviewing Federal agencies' new telecommunications systems and certifying that spectrum will be available;
  • providing the technical engineering expertise needed to perform specific spectrum resources assessments and automated computer capabilities needed to carry out these investigations;
  • participating in all aspects of the Federal government's communications related emergency readiness activities; and
  • participating in Federal government telecommunications and automated information systems security activities.

Related content


The NTIA-FCC MOU: What A New Era of Spectrum Coordination Will Look Like

September 13, 2022

The recent update of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and NTIA memorializes a shared commitment between the two agencies to renew a partnership critical to jointly managing the nation’s spectrum resources.   

Now the work begins to translate this agreement into consistent, meaningful practice. Given the scope of the document, there is quite a lot for the FCC and NTIA to do to fulfill the potential of the MOU.  

The agreement reflects the need for the two national spectrum managers to share information and communicate frequently and effectively. The agreement’s major provisions echo and anchor the goals of the Spectrum Coordination Initiative announced this past February.   

The MOU promotes:  

ITS Research on Spectrum Engineering Showcased at IEEE

August 11, 2022

NTIA serves a critical role in ensuring the most effective and efficient use of spectrum across the federal government. With a focus on working toward a coordinated, national approach to spectrum use, promoting evidence-based approaches to spectrum allocation is a critical endeavor. Much effort is currently focused on spectrum sharing. NTIA’s research laboratory, the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), is bringing needed clarity to the challenge through its specialized engineering studies known as electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) studies.

Specialized engineering studies assess the ability of wireless telecommunications systems, in particular emerging wireless technologies such as 5G, to function acceptably in their electromagnetic environment. If multiple systems are operating in the same or adjacent spectrum, EMC studies can determine whether they all function for their intended purposes or will cause unacceptable interference and performance degradation. 

As a leading expert in the essential EMC engineering disciplines -  spectrum measurements, spectrum propagation modeling, and interference analysis - ITS performs EMC studies to support NTIA’s Office of Spectrum Management and inform spectrum sharing policy and regulation as well as to answer EMC questions posed by other federal agencies. 

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