MISSION AND SCOPE
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): (a) serves as the principal adviser to the President on domestic and international communications and information policy‑making; (b) promotes access to telecommunications services for all Americans, and competition in domestic and international markets; (c) manages all Federal use of the electromagnetic spectrum and generally promotes efficient use of spectrum; (d) in partnership with business and other Federal agencies, conducts telecommunications technology research, including standards‑setting; and (e) awards grants through the Technology Opportunities Program and Public Telecommunications Facilities Program. The agency's expertise encompasses every aspect of telecommunications, including domestic policy, international policy, spectrum management, and technical telecommunications research and engineering.
NTIA addresses the highest priority issues in telecommunications and information today. The analysts in various program areas bring to their work an appreciation of the complexities of developing national policies, as well as the ability to draw on technical expertise to understand how those policies will facilitate or hinder development. This internal synergy is critical to NTIA's credibility and respect in the community; the agency's influence and advocacy record is a direct result of this synergy. NTIA’s unique talents as an agency are readily apparent in the current record of accomplishments on a wide range of telecommunications issues, including spectrum management reform, provision of spectrum for new wireless services, universal service, global electronic commerce, Internet governance, and digital broadcasting. NTIA also is the lead agency for the communications and information sector for purposes of coordinating with industry to ensure that the critical communications network remains functioning in the face of a cyber or physical attack.
In conjunction with the State Department and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), NTIA represents the United States' interests on communications issues abroad. NTIA participates in a variety of international fora, such as the International Telecommunication Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission. NTIA also participates in direct bilateral and multilateral negotiations with key strategic nations. NTIA also administers grant programs that extend the benefits of telecommunications and information technologies to all Americans. With about $96 million available for its activities, NTIA's 244 employees work to promote policies that promote the efficient and effective use of telecommunications and information resources in a manner that creates job opportunities, enhances U.S. competitiveness, and raises the standard of living.
NTIA’s activities support two primary Department of Commerce Strategic Goals: Provide the information and the framework to enable the economy to operate efficiently and equitably and Provide infrastructure for innovation to enhance American competitiveness. NTIA’s Performance Goals are: Promote Competition within the Telecommunications Sector and Promote Universal Access to Telecommunications Services for All Americans; Ensure that the Allocation of Radio Spectrum Provides the Greatest Benefit to All People; and Promote the Availability, and Support New Sources, of Advanced Telecommunications and Information Services. This report will detail NTIA's Calendar Year 2002 activities in these areas.
The year 2002 presented significant challenges to government telecommunications policymakers on several fronts. The attacks of September 11, 2001, thrust new issues and new priorities into the development of telecommunications and information services and products. It also demonstrated beyond a doubt that the era of wireless communications had arrived when passengers on the ill-fated planes made invaluable phone calls to loved ones and others, and also when the first responders of public safety agencies, through a variety of wireless technologies, used frequencies coordinated by NTIA to communicate with each other at the crash sites.
The downturn of the telecommunications sector continued in the past year, as well. The burst of the telecommunications and dot-com bubble has taken its toll on our country's economy. Observers have attributed these conditions to an oversupply of capacity and the misallocation of capital, among other things. The irresponsible actions of several prominent corporations and their leaders themselves also played a part in this downfall. President Bush has made clear that corporate responsibility is the essential foundation for building confidence in our future. Corporate actions in this area are critical to restoring confidence in the telecommunications industry. The Administration is committed to pursuing deregulatory and pro-competitive policies to help the industry overcome existing regulatory obstacles and to return to long-term, sustainable growth. Toward that end, the Bush Administration has advanced policies to make more efficient use of the radiofrequency spectrum, to promote the continued growth of wireless services through the elimination of unnecessary or outdated regulations, and to encourage the growth and vitality of telecommunications firms and the services they offer by developing regulatory policies that encourage investment.
GOAL 1: Promote Competition within the Telecommunications Sector and Promote Universal Access to Telecommunications Services for All Americans
Competitive markets lead to lower prices, increased innovation, and more options for American consumers. One of NTIA’s top priorities for 2002 was promoting policies to remove barriers to the deployment of new services, including broadband, third generation (3G) wireless services, ultrawideband (UWB) technologies, and digital television. In addition, NTIA agressively advanced U.S. telecommunications policy objectives in bilateral, regional, and international fora to promote U.S. and commercial interests. NTIA continued its stewardship role in the transition to private sector management of the Internet domain name system to ensure continued stability and security of this important communications medium.
Broadband Policy Development
President Bush, in his Technology Agenda and at the Administration's economic summit in Waco, Texas, has called for an aggressive expansion of broadband, recognizing the promise of high‑speed communications for the economy. Broadband has the potential to provide a lightning fast means of data transmission that could revolutionize the way we send and receive information. In addition to enhancing business efficiencies and broadening commercial opportunities, broadband holds the promise of expanding educational opportunities, improving health care, increasing governments' responsiveness to its citizens, and generally enhancing our global competitiveness. Thousands of new jobs could result from greater broadband deployment, both directly through network construction, and indirectly through industries related to advanced networks and services. During 2002, NTIA took several steps to promote the expansion of broadband.
A Nation Online: How Americans Are Expanding Their Use of the Internet. In 2002, NTIA—together with the Commerce Department's Economic and Statistics Administration—published a report entitled A Nation Online: How Americans Are Expanding Their Use of the Internet. The study, based on a survey of 57,000 households in 2001, found that 54 percent of Americans use the Internet. Of these users, only 20 percent (10% of the overall population) use broadband. The data from A Nation Online has helped guide NTIA and the FCC in determining next steps to create incentives for investment, stimulate demand and usage, and remove unnecessary government impediments to competition and deployment.
Improving Access to Rights of Ways. NTIA is also directing national attention to improving access to rights-of-way. For advanced telecommunications services, such as broadband, to be widely deployed across the nation, countless networks of fiber, cable, copper, and wireless technology must be constructed. A critical component in the construction of these networks is the effective management of public rights-of-way: the trenches, poles, conduits, towers, and other passageways through public lands and buildings that broadband networks must traverse. Various federal agencies, as well as numerous state and local governments, all manage public rights-of-way in varying degrees. Thus, any comprehensive approach to rights-of-way must focus on both federal and state/local issues.
Federal Rights-of-Way Working Group. During 2002, NTIA convened a federal government inter-agency working group to make recommendations for streamlining and simplifying the permitting process for rights-of-way across land owned by the federal government to reduce burdens on industry and to promote the timely deployment of broadband. During 2003, the working group will finalize its work and release a report containing its findings and recommendations, and will work with all of the relevant stakeholders to implement those recommendations.
Report on State/Local Success Stories. During 2002, NTIA began taking an in-depth look at various states and localities across the country to analyze how they handle rights-of-way management. During 2003, NTIA intends to prepare a report highlighting successful state and local efforts to promote broadband deployment though effective rights-of-way policies.
The Internet has seen tremendous growth over the last several years. What began as a small-scale system of links among U.S. academic institutions is now a global network connecting anyone with a computer hook-up to individuals, companies, and institutions around the world. The Internet has not merely grown in size. Its role in society has also expanded exponentially. The Internet has become a significant and important means of doing research, communicating with each other, and conducting business.
Given the Internet’s importance in all of these facets of daily life, it is essential that the Internet—and its underlying domain name management system—remain stable and secure with minimal government involvement in its structure, provisioning and management. NTIA firmly believes that innovation, expanded services, broader participation, and lower prices will arise most easily in a market-driven arena, not in an environment that operates under substantial regulation.
In 2002, NTIA worked to ensure that Internet development and the provisioning of related services and applications remain both led by the private sector and unfettered by regulators in foreign markets and inter-governmental organizations seeking new jurisdictions. To this end, NTIA promoted U.S. policy objectives and defended U.S. interests through policy analyses and development, trends analysis, and strategic representation in major international and regional fora, and through bilateral consultations with major trading partners. NTIA continued to support the pro-competitive goal of private sector management of the Internet domain name system (DNS), believing that a private sector organization is best able to respond nimbly to DNS issues in the rapidly evolving Internet space.
ICANN Reform. While NTIA, on behalf of the Department of Commerce, continues to serve as the steward of critical elements of the DNS during the transition to private sector management, for the last several years the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been the private sector organization responsible for day-to-day DNS management and for introduction of competition into the domain name registration process. In 2002, NTIA supported ICANN reform efforts to make it a more transparent, accountable, and responsive organization. We believe these improvements are crucial to ICANN’s accomplishment of its tasks under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Commerce and ICANN. In September 2002, the Department and ICANN agreed to a one-year extension of the MOU to afford ICANN a limited period of additional time to address the remaining transition tasks. Under the revised MOU, ICANN will make quarterly reports to the Department on its progress in achieving the transition tasks.
NTIA moved aggressively in 2002 to improve its outreach to other U.S. government agencies, foreign governments, and the U.S. private sector in an attempt to build consensus among key ICANN constituents about the scope and goals of the ICANN reform process. NTIA formed a U.S. interagency working group on Internet Domain Name issues in early 2002, and NTIA senior staff met with numerous private sector groups during the same period. U.S. Government views on ICANN reform were presented to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), while U.S. private sector views were presented directly to the ICANN Committee on Reform and Evolution. Both were important inputs to achieving a more open, transparent and accountable ICANN structure.
NTIA also spearheaded reform of the GAC Secretariat in 2002, believing that a well-functioning Secretariat is an important element of an effective advisory role for governments on ICANN issues. NTIA staff produced and coordinated an analysis of GAC Secretariat tasks essential to address GAC’s needs. This analysis proved a key factor in the European Union offering to provide a transitional Secretariat for the foreseeable future, while the GAC decides whether and if to establish a small, member-funded Secretariat. NTIA also worked through the GAC to facilitate greater international consensus on the advantages of ICANN reform.
Internet DNS Root Server Security. The DNS root server system is fundamental to routing Internet traffic. Its efficient and effective operation is critical to the overall security and stability of the Internet. During the past year, NTIA focused on assessing the level of and gathering recommendations for improvement of root server security. One of the key provisions of the amended MOU between the Department and ICANN was a new task to ICANN and the root server operators: to complete an assessment of the root server system by November 30, 2002. The Department and ICANN further agreed under the MOU that ICANN and the root server operators would provide a proposal for enhancing the system’s architecture and security by December 31, 2002. NTIA worked intensively with ICANN and the operators to garner their participation and support in this exercise and both reports were received in a timely fashion.
Internet Protocol (IP)Telephony. In the United States, IP telephony is transforming telephone (particulary voice) services into a converged blend of voice and data services to the great benefit of consumers. Many developing countries also see this new technology as an important step in meeting their communcations needs. However, some foreign governments, including some in developing countries, are wary that this new technology bypasses the conventional telecommunications networks, and could result in diminished revenues to their carriers. NTIA’s focus has been to encourage international examination of the potential economic benefits of this converged technology.
Following discussions held at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 2001 World Telecommunications Policy Forum on IP telephony, NTIA continued in 2002 to be active in the international experts group established to develop a checklist of factors for developing countries to use when introducing IP telephony and other Internet applications and services into their markets. Specifically, NTIA developed U.S. positions and provided policy guidance for the delegation on the economic benefits and challenges associated with the rollout of these technologies. In addition, NTIA worked extensively with an interagency team to encourage other governments to avoid placing unnecessary policy and regulatory constraints on the evolving Internet market so as to avoid inhibiting the benefits of innovation. Specific countries targeted in 2002 included India, which initiated a regulatory proceeding to consider IP telephony restrictions, and Panama, which through the implementation of their decision to ban IP telephony caused technical problems in the provisioning of other Internet application and services. In both instances, NTIA’s work with an interagency group was able to achieve an outcome favorable to U.S. interests.
.us Domain. The contract for management of the ".us" domain space was awarded by NTIA, on behalf of the Commerce Department, to NeuStar on October 26, 2001. On April 24, 2002, NeuStar reopened the “.us” domain to new registrants. By expanding access to serve more people, the reopening of the “.us” Internet domain will create new opportunities for growth in the U.S. economy and throughout society. The “.us” Internet domain, which is uniquely associated with the United States of America, will offer benefits to all American families, businesses, and individuals.
.kids.us. During 2002, Congress considered H.R. 3883, the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act, which required the Department to modify its contract for the management of the .us domain to establish a safe space for our nation's children on the Internet. NTIA worked with Congressional sponsors to develop this legislation and President Bush signed it into law on December 4, 2002. NTIA has begun implementing the requirements of this law, which will afford parents a measure of comfort that their children can use the Internet in a safer environment.
Protecting America’s Children from Inappropriate Materials. NTIA was active in 2002 in developing policies to protect children from inappropriate material on the Internet. Pursuant to the Children's Internet Protection Act of 2000 (CIPA), NTIA undertook this year to examine whether currently available technology protection measures adequately address the needs of educational institutions in protecting children's safety on the Internet; how to foster development of measures that meet such needs; and the development and effectiveness of local Internet safety policies currently in operation. NTIA will release a report addressing these issues in 2003.
International Policy Activities
NTIA pursued U.S. objectives to foster improved market conditions and job opportunities in foreign markets for U.S. companies in the information and communications technologies sectors by providing policy analyses, legal and technical guidance, and representational resources in 2002. NTIA advocated U.S. policy positions through multiple means and outreach strategies, including: significant senior representation in multilateral and regional telecommunications and Internet fora; bilateral advocacy for pressing policy issues and consensus-building on U.S. Government approaches in advance of major international conferences; and issue-specific advocacy requiring technical, legal and policy expertise with key international governments. NTIA at all times pursued a pro-competitive, liberalized approach to policy and light-touch regulatory implementation that affects current and next-generation technology deployment by U.S. companies both domestically and in foreign markets. Specific activities and accomplishments follow.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a 189 member intergovernmental organization, held its quadrennial treaty review conference, the Plenipotentiary Conference, in 2002. Over the course of the four-week meeting the Conference considered a series of Internet-related proposals that focused on the management of Internet domain names and addresses, Internet security, and multilingual domain names. NTIA led the lengthy negotiation efforts on these topics on behalf of the U.S. delegation and was successful in ensuring that the international legal definition of basic telecommunications was not expanded to include the Internet, that government control over what are currently commercially negotiated Internet charging arrangements was not imposed, and that a shift in whole or in substantial part of Internet domain name and management responsibility from ICANN to the ITU did not take place. In all instances, NTIA worked to ensure the stability and security of the Internet, to reaffirm the importance of private sector leadership in the Internet space and to limit the ITU’s involvement to its core competencies.
WTDC. The quadrennial World Telecommunications Development Conference (WTDC) organized by the ITU took place in March 2002. The objective of the meeting was to establish global information and communications technology development priorities, strategies and action plans. NTIA’s WTDC team, despite many obstacles, was instrumental in shaping discussions and establishing work programs that promote the adoption and implementation of national telecommunications policies such as liberalization, privatization, competition and universal access/service, which ultimately leads to increasing telecommunications infrastructure in both developed and developing countries and enabling the world’s citizens access to the new digital economy and digital government.
Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL). Given the Bush Administration's high priority on partnership with our Latin American and Canadian counterparts, CITEL is an important Western Hemisphere forum for telecommunications policy-makers and regulators to exchange views. NTIA advised the U.S. delegation on strategic directions to advance our regional liberalization agenda at the CITEL Assembly held August 2002, including coordination of CITEL positions for issues under consideration at the upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. In addition, NTIA worked with the Department of State and the FCC on the restructuring of the CITEL Telecommunications Standards Coordination Group so that the group can perform its mandate in a more efficient manner. NTIA also worked with the U.S. delegation to eliminate expenditure of resources on issues that are not directly relevant to coordinating policy standards within the region. NTIA also updated and expanded its well-regarded best practices report on the state of tele-centers in Latin America, which provides information on an important alternative approach for community access to information and communications technologies.
APEC Telecommunications and Information (TEL) Working Group. NTIA is an active participant in the TEL, which focuses on ways to improve trade and economic conditions using information and communications technologies (ICTs) in APEC’s 21-country Asia Pacific and American trading region. In May 2002, NTIA participated in the APEC’s Fifth Telecommunications and Information Industry Ministerial meeting (TELMIN5), delivering remarks on spectrum policy reform principles for the APEC region. TELMIN5 also provided a forum for bilateral consultations with China, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Mexico, Malaysia and Australia on pressing telecommunications and Internet policy and trade policy issues.
U.S.-European Union Information Society Dialogue (ISD). The European Union (EU) is nearing completion of its overhaul of electronic communications rules to address major issues such as technological convergence, globalization, the impact of the Internet and digital and packet-switching technology, and the development of new wireless technologies. Harmonization of these rules will lead to greater transparency for U.S. companies entering or operating in European markets, as well as increased ease in offering pan-European services. To advance U.S. understanding of these rules, NTIA and other U.S. Government agencies met bilaterally with the European Commission’s Information Society Directorate in April to discuss key issues related to the new package, to assure wherever possible similar rules and treatment of companies in both markets. Based on these talks, NTIA led the advocacy effort on the landmark EU data protection directive for all forms of electronic communications directives. As the controversial legislation was considered by the European Parliament and Council, NTIA expressed its views directly and through the U.S. Ambassador to the EU on the critical issues of cookies and data preservation. The problematic proposals on cookies were subsequently dropped while the discussion on data preservation has moved to other fora.
Bilateral Consultations. In 2002, NTIA pursued its policy agenda and gained agreement on several initiatives through formal bilateral consultations with multiple governments. Three are of particular note—Brazil, China and Afghanistan. In bilateral talks with Brazil, NTIA highlighted the benefits of postponing their spectrum allocation decision for third-generation (3G) wireless services licensing to assess market reactions to 3G deployments in other regions; their decision was subsequently postponed. NTIA also advocated to Brazil that they consider the economic benefits of selecting the U.S. Digital Television Standard (ATSC) from both a trade and broadcasting perspective; Brazil's decision was postponed until 2003 and the Ministry is further studying the matter.
With China, NTIA pursued an open policy and regulatory regime (i.e., improved legal transparency, independent operator, improved investment climate for telecom services) and reached agreement about a China-U.S. telecommunications policy summit between U.S. and Chinese government and industry to be held in February 2003. In addition, NTIA was a key player in the interagency effort to articulate the U.S. policy position against China’s efforts to raise international settlement rates. China subsequently dropped the rates back to earlier levels and committed to carrier-to-carrier (rather than government-mandated) negotiated rates in the future.
NTIA met with the new Afghani information and communications technologies government officials and advocated adoption of telecommunication policies that promote competition and open access to outside investors. Following an Afghani request for assistance in redelegation of their country code Top Level Domain (.af), NTIA successfully intervened with the U.S. Agency for International Development to support a consultant to assist the Afghanis; the redelegation was completed in early 2003.
U.S. Japan Economic Partnership for Growth. While Japan has made much progress in recent years toward liberalization, the United States and Japan continue to have bilateral consultations on a range of telecommunication issues, primarily through the Telecommunications Working Group under the U.S.-Japan Economic Partnership for Growth, launched by President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi in 2001. The office of the U.S. Trade Representative chairs the Working Group, with support from Commerce and other agencies. In 2002, NTIA working with other U.S. Government agencies urged Japan to strengthen its dominant carrier regulations for companies like NTT DoCoMo to prevent anti-competitive abuses. With respect to wireless carriers, following advocacy by NTIA and other U.S. agencies, Japan agreed to ensure cost-oriented interconnection rates for dominant wireless carriers such as NTT DoCoMo. NTIA and others are now pressing Japanese for more transparency in determining these rates.
Accounting Rates. In 2002, a trend emerged in the international marketplace of foreign governments intervening to mandate an increase in fixed line international termination rates above market prices. Such artificial upward adjustments in pricing increases payments from U.S. carriers to their foreign counterpart carriers. In response, NTIA spearheaded efforts to develop an interagency strategy to clearly articulate U.S. views on the topic and to encourage foreign governments to reconsider their decisions to intervene in the market. In particular, NTIA was instrumental in developing the formal written articulation of this position for use in consultations with China, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Jamaica. In addition to the successful outcome of the Chinese talks, as mentioned earlier, Ecuador also decided against establishing a government-mandated price floor, preferring instead to let market forces prevail.
Free-Trade Agreements (FTAs). Throughout 2002 and into 2003, NTIA provided policy guidance and technical support to the office of the United State Trade Representative’s negotiation process for multiple Free Trade Agreements, primarily with Chile and Singapore. NTIA focused on the telecommunications chapters of both Agreements, as well as a Joint Statement on E-Commerce with Singapore, to consolidate support for more liberal approaches to telecommunications markets based on competitive supply and antitrust concepts, to maintain flexibility for future U.S. policy and regulatory actions, to advocate a liberal approach to Internet policy (e.g., to guard against licensing), and to contain attempts to regulate international Internet capacity supply in the Singapore Joint Statement.
Although NTIA’s 2002 spectrum-related activities are fully discussed in the following section under Goal 2, these activities also substantially further NTIA’s efforts under Goal 1 to promote competition in the telecommunications sector and to promote universal access for all Americans. For example, wireless telephone service is increasingly becoming a direct competitor to traditional landline service. Moreover, in rural areas, where the costs of overbuilding an incumbent’s landline network may be prohibitively high, wireless service presents new opportunities for competitive offerings that might not otherwise be available to rural consumers.
As described in the next section, in 2002 NTIA urged the FCC to grant additional flexibility on how spectrum can be “leased” to third-party service providers. Such flexibility can create opportunities for additional competitors to enter the marketplace, especially in rural areas where providers need added flexibility to tailor their spectrum usage to the economics of the rural marketplace. In addition, NTIA called on the FCC to level the competitive playing field between cellular providers and other wireless providers by eliminating an outdated requirement that only cellular providers continue to offer analog service, rather than more spectrally-efficient digital service. To protect the interests of hearing-impaired consumers who may still rely on hearing aids that are incompatible with digital service, NTIA asked the FCC to establish a reasonable transition period during which time technological solutions for hearing aid compatibility can be achieved. Thus, NTIA’s spectrum efforts during the last year have supported not only our spectrum goals, but our competition and universal access goals as well.
GOAL 2: Ensure Spectrum Provides the Greatest Benefit to All People
The importance of spectrum to the continued development of new technologies, with concomitant effects on productivity, economic development, and trade is readily apparent. The radio spectrum is an important part of every American’s daily life. Anyone with a cell phone uses radio frequencies licensed by the FCC. The rapidly expanding Wi-Fi service sends signals on spectrum allocated for unlicensed use. More broadly, spectrum is the basis for over‑the‑air television and radio, satellite communications, and other commercial and business applications.
Radio spectrum is crucial to the work of police and fire departments. In addition, spectrum is essential to air and ground transportation systems, and, as important as any of these, it is used by the military for everything from two‑way radios to precision guided weapons to radars. The activities under this goal include satisfying the spectrum needs of Federal Government agencies, advancing spectrally efficient technologies, and improving the management of Federal and non‑Federal spectrum to maximize the value of spectrum to society. Continuing to manage and improve the spectrum management process is a fundamental activity vital to ensuring the Nation’s spectrum needs can be accommodated.
In 2002, spectrum issues remained at the forefront of NTIA’s priorities. As the manager of federal spectrum, NTIA is uniquely attuned to the spectrum needs of the federal agencies. As the President’s principal adviser on telecommunications policies, NTIA is also focused on the effect of spectrum policy as a whole on the general public and all users of spectrum.
Improving Spectrum Management
The legal framework under which spectrum is managed was established by the Radio Act of 1927 and was carried forward in the Communications Act of 1934. It has survived essentially unchanged since then. Although this system has served the United States well, there is a strong sense by virtually all stakeholders—government and private sector alike—that the system is in need of an overhaul. Because of the extensive use of spectrum in the United States, currently there is not enough spectrum available to meet the needs of existing consumer services, to satisfy the explosive growth in some services (such as mobile phones), and to provide a home for innovative new services like Wi-Fi and ultrawideband. Moreover, we are living in a time when we need to devote more resources to protecting Americans here and abroad, and spectrum is one of those key resources. Public safety agencies, for example, are clamoring for more spectrum to achieve interoperability and to accomplish their critical first responder missions. For its part, the Department of Defense has predicted that its spectrum usage will grow by more than 90 percent by 2005.
Spectrum Summit. In April, 2002, NTIA held a high‑level two‑day Spectrum Management and Policy Summit to initiate discussion on means for improving spectrum management. Organized in coordination with the FCC and with participation by many government, business, and academic experts, the Summit’s purpose was to explore new and innovative ideas to develop and implement spectrum policy and management approaches. The focus was upon ways to encourage spectrum efficiency; to provide spectrum for new technologies; and to improve the effectiveness of the domestic and international spectrum management processes. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans gave a keynote address, and the Chairman of the FCC, two other FCC Commissioners, and a number of FCC senior staff co-moderated every panel.
The first day of the summit was built around traditional panel discussions. The first panel featured government and private sector users of spectrum with knowledge of the current challenges facing the spectrum management process. The second panel included economists and analysts who follow spectrum issues and provided their theoretical views on the issues. The final panel was composed of technologists and futurists—engineers and future thinkers who enlightened us on new techniques for efficient spectrum use and prognosticated on the future. The second day of the summit consisted of small but lengthy group meetings meant not only to identify issues that needed attention, but also to solicit ideas on how to address them.. We had three simultaneous day-long meetings focused on spectrum management policies and how to further improve the process.
Several themes emerged from the summit. First, the U.S. Government agencies mainly responsible for spectrum management—NTIA, the FCC, and the State Department—must work together as "One Spectrum Team" to serve our Nation's collective interest. Second, these organizations need to craft policies that encourage efficient and effective use of spectrum. Third, they need to create forward‑looking policies that enable technological advances and remove outdated regulations that stifle innovation. And fourth, they need to be established policies that ensure the deployment of robust wireless networks that are prepared for the worst of crises and able to deliver the very best of services to the American people.
Aftermath of the Summit. Based on information from the Summit and follow-up meetings, NTIA will perform four major studies that will address spectrum efficiency and effectiveness through interference protection, receiver standards, federal government spectrum use improvements, and new technologies that could be applied to public safety to attain interoperability in 2003. In addition, NTIA spectrum management and telecommunications engineers participated in the FCC’s Spectrum Task Force to lend their expertise to the FCC’s examination of ways to improve spectrum efficiency and effectiveness and how applicable market principles could be utilized to achieve this objective. In addition, NTIA has enhanced its coordination with the FCC by having regular periodic meetings with the FCC at the top and mid-level management levels on current and future spectrum issues and rulemaking.
Wireless Regulatory Issues
NTIA had the opportunity in 2002 to weigh in with the FCC on matters that affect the commercial wireless industry. NTIA took the position that if regulations are no longer needed, they generally should be eliminated to let marketplace forces work.
Secondary Markets. In March 2002, NTIA urged the FCC to move toward increased reliance upon market forces in the “secondary markets” proceeding. The FCC has proposed going beyond established partitioning and disaggregation policies to afford broad flexibility on how spectrum can be “sublet” or used by “third parties.” In a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, NTIA stated that the FCC should permit licensees to “lease” spectrum under certain conditions, and in so doing should maximize flexibility arrangements by minimizing governmental intervention. The letter advocated the following parameters for secondary market success:
This docket could lead to permissive policies that open the door to flexibility, innovation and more efficient utilization of radio spectrum.
Analog Cellular Standard. NTIA also represented the Administration’s views in a proceeding in which the FCC considered eliminating a requirement that each cellular carrier continue to provide service using an older analog standard for as long the carrier continues to have analog customers or roamers on its system. In a letter written to FCC Chairman Powell in July 2002 by Assistant Secretary Victory, NTIA urged the Commission to sunset this requirement after a reasonable transition period to allow the orderly migration of current analog uses. Given the widespread availability of digital cellular technologies, which are undeniably more spectrally efficient and secure than analog transmissions, NTIA took the position that it is contrary to the public interest for the Commission to continue to mandate the use of the older, analog technology. Further, not only is the original rationale for the requirement (to ensure nationwide roaming) no longer necessary, but the continued mandate to use this less efficient technology constrains innovation and places cellular carriers at a distinct disadvantage vis‑à‑vis their PCS competitors.
Rules on Reimbursement of Spectrum Relocation Costs
In 2000, NTIA released rules formalizing reimbursement procedures for new licensees to compensate federal agencies that relocate their operations to make frequency spectrum available for commercial use. These rules were mandated by the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999. That Act required private entities that obtain licenses to use spectrum that was previously occupied by federal users, to compensate the incumbent agencies. Among other things, these rules: define marginal costs that are reimbursable; establish a dispute resolution process that includes good faith negotiation, mediation and arbitration; provides a procedure for handling classified and sensitive information; and identifies information that NTIA will provide to the FCC for the FCC to include in bidder package information prior to the auction of such spectrum.
Spectrum Relocation Fund
As part of the President’s FY 2003 Budget, the Administration transmitted proposed legislation to Congress that would create a central fund to reimburse federal entities for the costs of relocating their operations when government spectrum is reallocated through auction to commercial entities. This proposed legislation greatly streamlines the reimbursement process and directs agencies to seek cost reimbursement from a central account funded by auction receipts instead of from auction winners. Under current law, each winning bidder must negotiate with each affected Federal agency upon close of the auction and reimburse each agency directly for their relocation costs. The streamlined process proposed in the legislation will benefit the Federal agencies by providing greater certainty of timely reimbursement, new commercial service entrants by ensuring more timely access to the recovered spectrum, and American consumers by facilitating more rapid deployment of new communications services. If passed by Congress, this legislation will speed the availability of unencumbered spectrum to the marketplace, thereby promoting effective spectrum use competition in the wireless telecommunications sector.
700 MHz Auction
As part of the President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2003, the Administration transmitted proposed legislation to Congress that would, among other things, postpone the statutory deadlines for the auctions of the spectrum assigned to television channels 52-69 in the 700 MHz band. The Administration supported the postponement to provide the time necessary to resolve the existing uncertainties about how and when incumbent broadcasters would be relocated to other spectrum during the digital television conversion and this spectrum would be available for the deployment of new services. The Administration recognized the important role that broadcast television continues to play in the lives of all Americans and the challenges associated with the digital conversion. At the same time, spectrum is needed for new wireless services that provide new communications opportunities to American families, businesses, and public safety service providers. NTIA worked with the FCC and the Congress to develop a balanced bill to address these concerns and the President signed the Auction Reform Act of 2002 into law on June 19, 2002.
Every three years, almost two hundred countries gather together to make decisions about the use of radio spectrum at the international level. Strong U.S. Government participation in these World Radiocommunication Conferences ensures that U.S. interests are advanced in the allocation of spectrum for new technologies, in new sharing arrangements, and in critical interference protection from U.S. systems.
During 2002, via the Radio Conference Subcommittee and in coordination with the Department of State and the FCC, NTIA developed 50 proposals in preparation for the next International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) that will occur in June 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland. To provide the technical work to support U.S. positions, NTIA participated in the 7 ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU‑R) Study Groups and the myriad of related working parties and task groups. The ITU–R is responsible for international technology, standardization and spectrum management for all radio services, such as cellular/3G, satellites, radar, mobile systems, and short range devices, as well as, preparing for WRCs. NTIA had a major role in the ITU WRC Preparatory Meeting, where a 700 page report on the technical basis for the work of the WRC was developed. NTIA participated in delegations to three meetings of the Inter‑American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL) to seek support for U.S. positions. NTIA also participated in meetings of the other two main regional WRC preparatory groups, one for Europe and one for Asian countries. Key issues at this WRC‑03 will include Global Positioning System (GPS) sharing spectrum with other radionavigation systems, identification of harmonized bands for public protection and disaster relief, wireless local area networks (WLANS) operating at 5 GHz, and procedures for improving satellite notification.
Improving ITU Management and Processing of Satellite Network Filings
Since 1998, when the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota was unable to agree on a financial plan for the ITU, NTIA has been seeking improvements in the ITU’s planning processes. In 2002, NTIA efforts garnered support by the Working Group of Council—the group tasked with spearheading ITU reform efforts—to recommend that the ITU’s three sectors prepare their operational plans on a four‑year rolling basis. This recommendation sought to align ITU strategic, operational, and financial planning mechanisms to assist the member nations in their oversight of the ITU.
NTIA also participated in ITU activities regarding improvements in satellite network filing processes. Both the U.S. Government and U.S. private satellite network operators had become concerned that the ITU staff’s three‑year backlog in processing filings was causing significant problems in coordinating and implementing needed satellite network services. After garnering national and international support for change, NTIA succeeded in focusing the United States’ and international attention on this problem. During 2002, this attention resulted in increased staffing within the ITU for satellite filings and revisions to the procedures carried out by the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. These actions have produced significant reductions in the backlog.
Summits and Fora
During 2002, NTIA sponsored two events designed to increase awareness of the value of radio spectrum to improve public safety and homeland security.
Public Safety Interoperability Summit. NTIA held its first‑ever Public Safety Interoperability Summit in June 2002. The conference brought together nearly 80 high‑level government officials with more than 20 public safety vendor representatives to discuss current and emerging solutions for improving public safety wireless interoperability. A follow‑on study on interoperability technologies that could be implemented to meet public safety requirements will be published in 2003.
Federal Wireless Users’ Forum. NTIA acted as co‑chair of the Federal Wireless Users’ Forum (FWUF). The forum continued its mission of being a mechanism for interaction and exchange of information among wireless communications service vendors and government users for the purpose of establishing industry‑wide standards for emerging wireless digital technologies through multi‑day workshops focusing on industry outreach and cooperation. The Spring 2002 Workshop’s main focuses were changes in the Federal wireless landscape in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001. Specifically, the topics included the impact September 11, 2001 had on the Commercial Mobile Radio Services, interoperability, wireless security and government wireless initiatives. The Fall 2002 Workshop was co‑located with the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association’s Wireless IT and Internet 2002 Conference and provided a special focus on wireless data technologies, services and security. Specifically, the Fall 2002 Workshop topics included Homeland Security, wireless data security protocols, wireless priority service and interoperability. Attendance for these events continues to increase as more Federal, state, and local government agencies begin to look toward wireless technologies as one of the key ways to conduct business under the threat of terrorism.
Spectrum Management Training
During 2002, NTIA held a one‑week spectrum management seminar, attended by 40 Federal Government spectrum managers and nominated contractors from 22 Federal agencies. The course covered a basic introduction to spectrum management, U.S. and international regulatory agencies, spectrum engineering, spectrum management software, satellite communications, land mobile communications, public safety, radio signal propagation, and spectrum planning. The course also enabled NTIA to get a better understanding of the spectrum management problems being encountered out in the field and beyond the beltway. For the first time, NTIA staff presented lectures to the DoD tri‑service radio frequency spectrum management school at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. The class included students from the U.S. military and military civilians, and several students from other U.S. agencies, and a few foreign nations.
NTIA also organized and hosted a two‑week spectrum management course to 19 students from 17 developing countries under the administrative auspices of the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI), a non‑profit organization based in Washington, DC. The course covers an introduction to spectrum management, U.S. and international regulatory agencies, spectrum engineering, spectrum management software, satellite communications, land mobile communications, public safety, radio signal propagation, and spectrum planning. This was the 19th year that NTIA has taught such a course.
NTIA also presented spectrum management mini‑seminars in Washington, DC to two delegations from Afghanistan and a delegation from Romanian. Afghanistan is restructuring their telecommunications and regulatory organizations and processes, and sought information on the U.S. spectrum management processes, and advice from spectrum management experts. The Romania officials, from the National Regulatory Authority for Communications, desired to learn about the U.S. organizations and procedures.
Federal Spectrum Authorization and Coordination
Efficient and effective processing of federal spectrum authorizations is key to ensuring that federal agencies can meet their crtical mission needs in times of crisis and provide essential services to the American public. NTIA made a number of improvements to its authorization and coordination processess in 2002 to meet these spectrum needs.
Frequency Assignments and Systems Reviews. The Federal Government must have sufficient spectrum to meet its radiocommunication needs in order to carry out its mandated missions, including national defense, air traffic control, law enforcement, management of natural resources, emergency warning and disaster relief operations, and other public safety functions. NTIA processed, through the Frequency Assignment Subcommittee (FAS), 102,765 assignment actions during 2002. These included 26,142 requests for new assignments, 39,211 requests to modify existing assignments, and 10,119 actions to delete existing assignments. NTIA’s management process, which is continually being improved to increase efficiency, has successfully ensured that all assignment requests comply with the rules and regulations and do not cause or receive interference. NTIA also completed 73 system review assessments to support the spectrum certification of a wide variety of new radiocommunications systems being developed by the Federal agencies, such as radar, radio navigation, satellite, and communications systems. NTIA’s Space Systems Group (SSG) reviewed, approved, and forwarded information to the ITU for international registration of 44 satellite systems (10 of which will be in non‑geostationary orbit and 34 in geostationary orbit).
Emergency Support Operations. The events of September 11, 2001, required NTIA to continue to support a critical, classified National Security/Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) project under the direction of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. In addition, throughout 2002, personnel provided direct assignment support for operations in response to the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City and the Pentagon terrorist attacks. Emergency frequency assignments were provided to agencies such as the White House (White House Communications Agency), the Army, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Interior Department, the Justice Department, the Air Force, the Treasury Department, and the Navy. Frequencies were also provided to the FCC for the American Red Cross to use in support of their operations at the WTC. NTIA personnel have remained on immediate recall standby to provide immediate frequency support for any further emergencies.
Federal Government Electronic Spectrum Coordination Process. NTIA continued to update its frequency assignment coordination processes using automated mechanisms. Federal agencies submit frequency assignment action requests to NTIA in machine‑readable format via telephone to a computer bulletin board, or via e‑mail. NTIA added the capability for the agencies to submit unclassified frequency assignment requests via a newly created website. This website capability will replace the old dial‑up unclassified bulletin board.
NTIA also continued to fund the maintenance and enhancement of the PC‑based Spectrum XXI desktop spectrum management system under a program begun in 1993. The purpose of this program is to provide a standardized, automated system for Federal agencies to technically select spectrum that is interference‑free, submit applications for spectrum support, and validate that the spectrum requested is within the rules and regulations governing spectrum authorization. The latest version of Spectrum XXI contains 50 improvements requested by NTIA on behalf of the Federal Spectrum XXI users. NTIA provided over 300 civilian and DoD Federal spectrum managers with the latest version of the program. Spectrum XXI is being jointly funded by NTIA and the DoD’s Joint Spectrum Center (JSC). From January to November 2002, the JSC conducted 10 Spectrum XXI training classes for NTIA. A total of 120 spectrum managers from 15 government agencies attended these classes.
NTIA also continued development and enhancement of the PC‑based Equipment Location‑Certification Information Database (EL‑CID) program. The purpose of the program is to provide a standardized automation program to support electronic processing of spectrum certification requests at NTIA. The database structure and design is based upon the new comprehensive database (the OSM Data Dictionary) being developed at NTIA to replace the Government Master File database that is currently used to support various spectrum management activities. The fully operational version of the software was released to the IRAC agencies for evaluation and testing on October 17, 2002.
Continuity of Operations
NTIA completed a total revision of the NTIA Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). The revised COOP provides current policy and guidance for NTIA personnel to ensure that critical or essential functions and operations are continued in the event of an emergency or threat of an emergency. In general, the purpose of COOP preparedness activities is to ensure that the appropriate and necessary individuals, equipment, and information are available to perform essential functions in a new operating location or environment when the home site becomes unusable or when a failure of equipment means that emergency action must be undertaken. A new procedure was developed and implemented for all NTIA personnel to report personal contact and status information in response to an emergency via the Internet using a secure Website.
NTIA provided COOP orientation/initial training to each new NTIA employee within one month of the employee’s arrival. Additionally, NTIA participated in the Title Globe interagency communications exercises. During these exercises, NTIA personnel exercised and tested various interoperable communications capabilities. Further, NTIA added both satellite and cellular fixed communications equipment with Wireless Priority Services capability to its alternate site and added mobile versions of the same capabilities. These capabilities were tested on a regular basis. On-site exercises provided emergency personnel the opportunity to travel to the alternate site, activate assigned rooms, use various communications (e.g., HF radio, secure voice, and facsimile) involving activation of servers, routers, a local area network and other equipment.
NTIA’s COOP addresses all emergency contingencies and situations. As a result, many other federal agencies are using NTIA’s COOP as a model for their COOP plans. In addition, the new personnel computer automated internet alerting procedure is also being reviewed by the Department and the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy for application in tracking personnel during emergencies.
GOAL 3: Promote the Availability and Support New Sources of Advanced Telecommunications and Information Services
Activities under this goal include demonstrating advanced, innovative applications of telecommunications and information technology in the non-profit and public sectors, meeting the compelling telecommunications research needs of other Federal agencies and industry through cooperative research and development, promoting international acceptance of U.S. spectrum proposals, and participating in ITU and domestic standards development to benefit U.S. industry and user interests. Continuing to assess the impact of new telecommunications technologies and evaluate their most efficient use for the government and the public is critical to the nation’s economic health and the growth of both eGovernment and eBusiness.
90 MHz of New Spectrum for Advanced Mobile Wireless Services (3G)
In July 2002, NTIA released a plan to make 90 MHz of radio spectrum available in the future for advanced wireless (third generation or "3G") telecommunications services. 3G is envisioned as a potential wireless on ramp and off ramp for the Internet -- a wireless complement to the broadband network that will open new business opportunities for service providers and equipment vendors, bring innovative new services to American consumers, and improve our overall productivity and efficiency. However, because of heavy demand for existing wireless services by commercial and government users, finding additional radio spectrum for advanced wireless services presents unique challenges. NTIA’s plan to address these challenges, known as the "3G Viability Assessment," builds upon earlier NTIA initiatives and was achieved as the result of extensive public outreach as well as intensive work on technical issues with industry, the FCC, the Department of Defense and other affected government agencies.
In the 3G Viability Assessment, NTIA identified 45 MHz from the 1710-1755 MHz band, while the FCC identified 45 MHz from the 2110-2170 MHz band, to be made available fro 3G services. The 1755-1770 MHz band, also studied, was concluded not to be a viable home for 3G due to difficulties in sharing with or relocating incumbent systems operated by the Department of Defense. The identified spectrum bands will become available after the bands are substantially cleared of existing users. Under existing law, the cost of relocation by the federal government users will be paid by the private sector entities receiving the reallocated spectrum. By making a combined 90 MHz of spectrum available in this fashion, the plan is designed to accommodate critically important spectrum requirements for national security at the same time as it frees-up valuable spectrum needed for new commercial services.
Accommodation of Ultrawideband (UWB) Technology
During 2002, NTIA worked closely with the FCC to authorize mechanisms to accommodate new UWB wireless technology. In addition to enabling broadband connections in our homes and providing innovative ways to communicate, UWB devices also assist in the performance of critical safety services such as providing images of buried objects, inspecting highways and bridges and determining the location of gas pipelines. Thus, UWB technology will greatly enhance the jobs performed by firefighters, policemen and search and rescue crews. NTIA sought ways to safely accommodate this promising new technology without causing serious impact to critical radio communications services. This required NTIA to perform technical analyses of these novel waveforms and their impact on existing services. These analyses required the highest technical acumen in electromagnetic theory and practice to determine the relationship between the UWB modulation and receiver bandwidth interference. Based on these analyses and direct discussions between NTIA staff, Federal agency representatives, FCC staff, and the wireless industry, the FCC released a number of orders in 2002 that permit the marketing and operation of products and devices that incorporate UWB technology. NTIA’s efforts in introducing UWB technology into the marketplace will encourage investment in innovative communication devices that will enhance the competitive marketplace of wireless services.
NTIA has been exploring the potential implications of the convergence of communications technologies, including the Telephone Number Mapping (ENUM) Protocol. The ENUM Protocol creates a single identifier based on a user's public telephone number that could be used across various communications networks. In August 2002, NTIA hosted a roundtable that discussed the technology, competition issues, and policy issues, such as privacy, security and authentication. Both industry and non-profit entities participated in the discussions addressing the benefits and challenges of this new technology. The participants delivered a clear message regarding the need for NTIA to take action on improving U.S. participation in international development of ENUM standards and regulatory jurisdictions. NTIA has begun the process of evaluating the implementation of ENUM domestically and will continue to act as the lead in progressing work on this topic.
Advanced Development of Spectrally Efficient Technologies
To foster more efficient use of the radio spectrum, and to advance the development and introduction of more spectrally efficient communication technologies, NTIA's Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) completed a number of key research and engineering studies in 2002 focused on radio spectrum occupancy and new communication technologies. This research was accomplished in close coordination with NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management (OSM).
A critical part of this work centered on the measurement and analysis of the actual use of the spectrum, utilizing the ITS-operated Radio Spectrum Measurement System (RSMS). The RSMS, consisting of a mobile unit, a suitcase-transportable version, and a supporting laboratory in Boulder, is used to perform measurements in multiple frequency bands at selected sites, and to make other specialized measurements as necessary to determine the effects that emerging technologies have on spectrum use/efficiency and on existing systems. During 2002, ITS measured the effects of various emitters, including UWB, on a number of air surveillance radars, measured the effects of radar-to-radar interference, measured the emission characteristics of selected pager transmitters, made Part 15 measurements on personal computers, completed an NTIA Report on new Radar Spectrum Engineering Criteria (RSEC) Measurement Procedures, hosted a meeting of ITU-R WP-8B Radar Correspondence Group in Boulder, and developed simulated targets for and measured interference effects in a NEXRAD radar.
Also in 2002, ITS continued work on the design and implementation of the fourth-generation RSMS. This major upgrade will provide added capability to measure many emerging radio and wireless technologies, such as new broadband and UWB services, as well as new communications services at extremely high frequencies, including new satellite and radar services and new, more complex signal waveforms. The new design will also be more adaptable to future upgrades. Thus, ITS will be able to perform its mission of measuring existing and new communications services and resolving associated interference problems more efficiently and accurately.
Advanced Wireless Broadband Technology Research
ITS continued research and engineering to support the development of new wireless technologies, including wireless local area networks, 3G wireless, broadband wireless access, digital broadcasting, smart antennas, and UWB communications. In 2002, ITS expanded work on its new Wireless Networks Research Center, designed to accommodate studies of emerging technologies and personal communications services (PCS), analysis of wireless protocols, and studies of wireless network effects (such as congestion) and capabilities (such as priority access). The Center is currently conducting research on behalf of various Federal agencies, including the National Communications System (NCS).
One key area of wireless research was the measurement and modeling of the propagation of radio waves, which are crucial for the planning, development, and deployment of new wireless technologies. Such knowledge is also needed for effective spectrum management and policy development. ITS also supported the development of wireless local area networks through the design and development of indoor propagation models, validated by measurements, that enable the accurate prediction of broadband communication performance in indoor environments. These models provide a basis for planning antenna placement and designing modulation and coding techniques for achieving broadband capacity.
Broadband access to the Internet from the home and small businesses is of major importance to the nation. Broadband wireless access can, in addition, provide competition in the local loop (telephone service to the subscriber). ITS continued to be the primary source of propagation measurement data and models for the broadband wireless access industry local multipoint distribution service (LMDS). Deployment of systems is beginning in the United States and a number of U.S. companies are exporting systems and services.
Advanced Wireless Propogation Models for Spectrum Sharing
ITS acquired fundamental data and developed more accurate modeling of radio propagation that will lead to improved methods of planning spectrum sharing for various services. ITS enhanced its multi-user, multi-network PCS interference model to cover third generation (3G) PCS applications, and participated in the development of a proposed American National Standard on 3G systems and PCS interference. Since the development of the model began, the communications industry has begun to develop new technologies to address system limitations such as system capacity, coverage, and data transfer rates. These new 3G systems will need to coexist with current PCS systems for a period of time. ITS responded by upgrading its interference model. The output data will allow users to characterize possible problems between the different technologies as well as characterized interference problems with the existing PCS networks. In addition to model development, ITS continued in 2002 to contribute to inter-PCS interference understanding through participation in the development of a proposed American National Standard “Third Generation Systems and Licensed Band PCS Interference.” The proposed standard will offer service providers and field engineers information and methodologies to recognize and eliminate sources of PCS interference.
Adaptive Antenna Research
Adaptive or “smart” antennas are a key technology for enabling mobile broadband communications and for easing the spectrum shortage by increasing spectrum efficiency. ITS continued work on its Advanced Antenna Testbed to support industry and academia in the development of smart antenna technology. Advanced antenna (smart antenna) measurements aid in development of 3rd generation and 4th generation wireless systems. This technology is critical for spectrum efficiency and capacity improvement of existing and future cellular wireless systems. Capacity improvements due to smart antenna technology will help diminish the spectrum shortage.
Cooperative Research and Development
The Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 (FTTA) allows Federal laboratories to enter into cooperative research agreements with private industry, universities, and other interested parties. The law was passed to provide laboratories with legal authority to enter into these arrangements and thus encourage technology transfer from Federal labs to the private sector. ITS is actively engaged in technology transfer and commercialization efforts by fostering cooperative research with industry where benefits can directly facilitate U.S. competitiveness and market opportunities. Through cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs), ITS applies its expertise to practical problems in telecommunications today. ITS has completed several CRADAs with the private sector (e.g., U S WEST Advanced Technologies, Inc., Hewlett-Packard, American Automobile Manufacturers Association, GTE Laboratories, Integrator Corporation, Industrial Technologies, Inc., Lehman Chambers, ARINC, Lucent Technologies) to design, develop, test, and evaluate advanced telecommunications concepts. Data derived from these CRADAs has provided a foundation for domestic and international standards development and efficient allocation of radio frequency spectrum resources.
Major contributions to PCS and LMDS technologies have been carried out under these CRADAs to aid U.S. efforts to rapidly introduce new communications technologies for the benefit of society. Much of ITS' work in PCS has been accomplished through CRADAs with partners such as U S WEST, Bell South, Telesis Technology Laboratory, and Motorola. PCS has now been commercialized worldwide, and new developments continue as it is extended to third generation wireless and beyond. ITS has continued this work in 2002 through a CRADA with Lucent Technologies, Bell Laboratories, investigating multiple-input/multiple-output antenna arrays, a technology that is targeted to dramatically increase the capacity of wireless systems, therefore reducing the problem of spectrum crowding. This technology is 3 to 5 years from commercial application.
Work begun by ITS in 2001 and continued in 2002 included research with two university CRADA partners (University of Pennsylvania, and East Carolina University) that provided access to Internet 2 capabilities and medical imaging that would not have been otherwise available to the laboratory. Through these CRADAs, ITS continued related research in digital video communication performance, addressing such emerging and future applications as video telephony and teleconferencing, telemedicine, and interactive video distribution. The lab also continued its development of multimedia test capabilities, which are extremely valuable in implementing and optimizing the national and international information infrastructure, including the Next Generation Internet (NGI). Another CRADA targeted the development of a user-friendly Windows-based video quality assessment system. This CRADA provided the laboratory with a computer system, and software developed by the CRADA partner, greatly increasing the capabilities of the laboratory. The video quality assessment system developed under this CRADA incorporates technology covered by two patents and one patent application owned by ITS. It is targeted for commercial development. Software implementing the video quality metric (VQM) was made available on-line in a beta version in 2002.
Research and Engineering Support for Federal Technical Agencies
ITS also supports the mission of other Federal agencies through reimbursable work agreements. These efforts support a key NTIA responsibility of making available its laboratory's telecommunications expertise to other Federal agencies in a centralized, cost‑effective manner.
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and continuing threats of terrorism reinforced the need for local, state, and Federal public safety officials to be able to communicate more effectively with each other during emergencies. Such interoperability is a high priority for the Department of Justice, which initiated the Advanced Generation of Interoperability for Law Enforcement (AGILE) program. Under the AGILE program, ITS worked to develop standards to provide telecommunications interoperability. This work was conducted through the National Institute of Standards and Technology Office of Law Enforcement Standards, through which ITS has been addressing law enforcement needs for telecommunications standards for a number of years. ITS also worked with the Global Justice Information Network to establish procedures for addressing information-sharing standardization issues, and assisted the justice community practitioners in confronting key technical issues. In 2002, ITS continued efforts to develop the standards to be used to network public safety radio systems. ITS developed procedures to test and assure interoperability between radio systems that adhere to the public safety radio standard. This technical effort is being conducted for the Federal Law Enforcement Wireless Users Group, which is a member of the Telecommunications Industry Association's Project 25 steering committee. In addition, ITS initiated and advanced work involving the standardization of an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) implementation and XML Data Element Dictionary (DED) to allow for easier communication of vital information from different law enforcement data bases. ITS briefed many Public Safety groups on typical Public Safety radio systems, and is developing a comprehensive document that describes various options for available technologies.
Also in 2002, ITS began the examination of Software Defined Radio technologies, which will allow radios to automatically switch between different technologies, protocols, and bands, and began the evaluation of Emergency Telecommunications Services (ETS) for its robustness and survivability during times of network outages, capacity overload, and degradation. In addition, ITS conducted essential research on possible uses of Radio Voice over Internet Protocol (RVoIP) in Public Safety communications, and demonstrated applications in the laboratory that allow Public Safety communications via the Internet or a private intranet.
ITS continued its long history of assistance to multiple Department of Defense agencies. In 2002, much of this work was of a sensitive nature. Contributions include assistance in determining the security challenges posed by rapidly emerging new telecommunications technologies and analysis to assist in the application of electronics and communications to enhance national defense.
ITS also provided key technical support to the work of the Federal Railway Administration in improving railway traffic management and safety and to the National Communications System (NCS) in enhancing communications survivability during national emergencies. During 2002, ITS continued to support NCS in fulfilling its national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) mission through telecommunication research and standards development. Outputs of the Institute's 2002 NCS program included leadership and technical contributions in national standards committees (land mobile radio security, IP network reliability, ETS requirements, etc.).
Creation and Use of eGovernment Services
ITS continued its efforts to make technology results easily available to the larger user community. One way is through our Telecommunications Analysis Services (TA Services) program. TA Services provides the latest engineering models and research data developed by ITS to industry and other Government agencies via a web-interface computer located and maintained at ITS. TA Services is designed to be both user-friendly and efficient. It offers a broad range of programs on a cost reimbursable basis that allow the user to design or analyze the performance of telecommunications systems. Currently available are on-line terrain data, census data, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) databases, and geographic information systems (GIS) databases. TA Services has developed models which predict communications system coverage and interference for many broadcast applications. New models in the GIS environment for Personal Communication Services (PCS) and Local Multipoint Distribution Services (LMDS) have been developed. The TA Services computer was recently upgraded and is now ten times faster than before with approximately three times more storage capacity.
Standards Ddevelopment to Benefit U.S. Industry and User Interests
ITS continued to provide key leadership, technical contributions, and advocacy of U.S. Government and industry proposals in the International Telecommunication Union-Telecommunication Standarization Sector (ITU-T), ITU-R, and related national telecommunication standards committees during 2002. The Institute’s ITU-T work promotes competition, innovation, and international trade in telecommunications equipment and services through standardization of network performance and user-oriented quality of service (QOS) metrics. The Institute’s ITU‑R work provides a technical basis for spectrum allocation decisions and spectrum use both globally and regionally, and helps to ensure compatibility between radio systems operated by U.S. government and industry organizations and those operated in other countries.
The Institute’s ITU‑T leadership activities in 2002 were focused in two groups: Study Group 13 Working Party 4 (Network Performance and Resource Management) and Study Group 9 Working Group 2 (Quality Assessment). The former group develops performance recommendations for broadband, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM), and Internet protocol (IP)‑based next-generation network (NGN) technologies. The latter group defines quality objectives for integrated broadband cable networks and television and sound transmission. During 2002, ITS provided leadership and technical contributions to related work in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited T1 (Telecommunications) Committee’s T1A1 (Performance and Signal Processing) Subcommittee. With strong input from T1A1, Working Party 4/13 completed work on two new Recommendations (Y.1541 and Y.1221), which will be widely used in defining network performance and traffic management objectives and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for IP-based networks that provide assured quality services. They are the first ITU-T Recommendations that deal specifically with IP network performance and traffic management issues.
ITS has played a central role in the development of ITU‑R (previously CCIR) Recommendations for over three decades, and a substantial proportion of existing ITU-R/CCIR Recommendations are based on ITS research. ITS currently represents the United States in the activities of ITU‑R Study Group 3 (Propagation) and its Working Parties, WP‑3J (Propagation Fundamentals), WP‑3K (Point‑to‑Area Propagation), WP‑3L (Ionospheric Effects) and WP‑3M (Point‑to‑Point, Earth‑Space Propagation and Interference). During 2002, ITS staff members participated in WP-3L, WP‑3M and WP‑3J meetings and chaired Drafting Groups responsible for numerous WP 3 results. ITS led the development of the new Recommendation ITU-R P.1546, “Method for point‑to‑area predictions for terrestrial services in the frequency range 30 to 3000 MHz,” adopted at a special Study Group 3 meeting, to address the need for international frequency coordination supporting the deployment of 3G wireless networks and digital broadcasting. Subsequently, ITS provided critical logistical support, coordination, and technical input to the correspondence group working to improve P.1546 before the Study Group 3 WP-3K meetings to be held in November, 2003.
During 2002, ITS continued telecommunications research and engineering activities directed toward the development, implementation, and promulgation of user-oriented performance measures for integrated data, audio (including voice), video, and multimedia communication equipment and services. ITS continued to enhance and apply its state-of-the-art integrated networks test bed and performance measurement laboratory to validate and optimize telecommunications performance standards. This research supports the development of user-oriented, technology-independent performance parameters and measurement methods for digital audio and high-speed data communications services. ITS continued related research in digital video communications performance addressing such emerging and future applications as video telephony and teleconferencing, computer-aided design and manufacturing, e-commerce, tele-medicine, and interactive video distribution, and is continuing its development of multimedia test capabilities. These user-oriented test capabilities are extremely valuable in implementing and optimizing the national and international information infrastructure.
Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP)
NTIA's PTFP assists in maintaining and extending the services of public telecommunications facilities, including the conversion of public television to digital broadcasting. The program annually awards grants to public broadcasting and other noncommercial entities for the purchase of telecommunications equipment. In 2002, PTFP issued grants totaling over $42 million for 116 projects in 44 states and Puerto Rico. In 2002, PTFP awarded 52 public radio grants, 59 public television grants, four distance learning grants, and one grant to the University of Hawaii for the Pan‑Pacific Educational and Cultural Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) Project.
In addition to these projects, NTIA awarded $2.3 million in grants from a special supplemental appropriation to three stations in New York City–WNET-TV, WNYC-FM, and WKCR-FM. The grants are helping to re-establish the stations' transmission facilities that were destroyed by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Public television is making progress with their conversion to digital broadcasting. NTIA awarded $36 million for projects that will convert public television facilities to digital broadcasting. Funds were awarded to support the digital television conversion of 20 statewide systems, and NTIA funded digital conversion projects for individual stations in 17 different states.
In addition, forty-four PTFP grants for the replacement of aging equipment ensure the continued service of public radio and television stations. Thirteen grant awards provide new public radio services to more than 500,000 unserved residents of Quincy and Sutter, California; Ouray, Colorado; Mitchellville, Iowa; Corbin, Kentucky; Farmington, Missouri; Austin and Brainerd, Minnesota; Norwalk Ohio; Tillamook, Oregon; Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Bushland, Texas; and Aberdeen, Washington. Two grant projects plan for new public radio service for Cass Lake, Minnesota, and Grants, New Mexico.
PTFP also supported the purchase of nonbroadcast equipment for distance learning. The largest nonbroadcast distance learning grant – for $404,047 – was awarded to the St. Clair County Intermediate School District, Port Huron, Michigan, to extend its distance learning system to each of the county’s elementary and middle schools.
In addition to conducting a grant competition, the program administered grants awarded in 2002 and previous years. During the year, the program monitored over 300 active grants and 1,000 grants still within the Congressionally-mandated, ten-year federal interest period. Under its authorizing legislation, the Federal Government retains an interest in PTFP-funded equipment for ten years after a project is completed.
In 2002, PTFP increased the agency’s e-government capability by developing an on-line system for electronic submission of performance reports and other grant actions.
Technology Opportunities Program (TOP)
TOP provides matching grants to non‑profit organizations and state and local governments across the United States to demonstrate advanced, innovative applications of telecommunications and information technology. In 2002, 25 public and non‑profit institutions, competitively selected from more than 700 applicants, were awarded $12.4 million in federal grants. Projects were selected on the basis of their ability to serve as models that can be replicated by similar organizations across the country.
During the year, the program monitored over 200 active projects. In addition, TOP increased the agency’s e-government capability by developing an on-line system for staff and grant recipients to track grant management actions.
TOP evaluates and disseminates the results and insights learned from TOP grantees by posting publications, annual survey reports, exemplary project evaluations, and other online resources. In January 2002, NTIA released one of its series of "lessons learned" reports on TOP projects. Networking the Land: Rural America in the Information Age, presented ten stories discussing how rural communities are using telecommunications and information technologies to develop local economies, manage natural resources, and improve access to education, health care, social services, and the arts.
NTIA also released two research reports examining the use of digital networking technology in the non-profit and public sectors. One report presents the findings from a study of 100 Community Technology Centers (CTCs) conducted by the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) identifying how CTCs sustain themselves independently of Federal funding through the development of local support. The other study, conducted by Blacksburg Electronic Village, Inc., evaluates the impact of community networks on public and non-profit organizations.
NTIA Management Accomplishments
In 2000, NTIA conducted an active management control review program, continued improving its financial management system, and continued to meet standards prescribed for information technology (IT) and telecommunications security. Since passage of the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) 20 years ago, no material weaknesses in internal controls or material nonconformance in financial management systems have been found within NTIA. Instead, regular management control reviews, special management reviews, as well as reviews and audits by the Inspector General's Office have yielded recommendations for further improvements in operations, which have been put in place.
NTIA also continues to improve the consolidation of accounting and financial information and the timeliness of data available to agency management. For the FY 2001 financial statement, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a full scope audit. The audit of that statement resulted in an unqualified opinion, with no material weaknesses or reportable conditions. The OIG will conduct another full scope audit for the FY 2002 financial statement.