February 11, 1998 (202) 482-7002


WASHINGTON, DC -- The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration today released the Spectrum Reallocation Report. The report, which identifies 20 megahertz of radio frequency spectrum below 3 gigahertz for reallocation from Federal to non-Federal use, was mandated by Title III of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

The 20 megahertz identified for reallocation is to be assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to non-Federal users through the process of competitive bidding prior to 2002. Secretary of Commerce Daley signed the report on February 9, 1998, in accordance with the statuatory requirements in the legislation.

The Federal Government uses frequencies below 3 gigahertz to support missions that provide significant and unique benefits to the public. These missions include Federal law enforcement activities, air traffic control, national defense, weather services, scientific studies, and environmental monitoring. The estimated Federal investment exceeds $280 billion. Approximately half of this spectrum is shared with non-Federal users.

The report describes the approach used to identify the bands considered for reallocation. This includes: 1) assessment of the Federal Government use of the bands, identification of mission and cost implications; 2) application of the Title III band selection criteria; 3) identification of the factors that would effect the benefits to be accrued by the public for the various reallocation options; and 4) analysis of the various reallocation options on a band-by-band basis.

The reallocation plan provides an overview of Federal usage, a transition timetable, and any sharing requirements for each of the bands identified for reallocation. The estimated reallocation costs and potential operational impacts to the missions performed by the Federal agencies are also discussed.



In complying with the requirements and band selection criteria of Title III, the spectrum reallocation plan establishes a reasonable balance between the spectrum needs of the Federal Government and those of potential non-Federal users.

Spectrum Reallocation Plan
Bands Identified for Reallocation  Reallocation Status4 Reallocation Schedule5
139-140.5 and 141.5-143 MHZ Mixed January 2008
216-220 MHz1 Mixed January 2002
1385-1390 MHz2 Exclusive January 1999
1432-1435 MHZ Mixed January 1999
2385-2390 MHz3 Exclusive January 2005

1) The SPASUR radar system (transmit frequency of 216.98 MHZ and receive frequencies of 216.965-216.995 MHZ), located in the Southern part of the United States, will continue to be protected. 

2) Federal airborne operations at 16 sites will be continued for 9 years after the scheduled availability date.

3) Federal and commercial airborne operations at 17 sites will be continued for 2 years after the scheduled availability date.

4) Spectrum reallocated on a mixed-use basis can be used by the Federal Government, but this use must be limited by geographic area, time, or by other means, and must be substantially less than the potential non-Federal use.

5) The spectrum will be auctioned prior to 2002, in accordance with the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. 


NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President, and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communication and information issues and represents the Executive Branch before the Congress, other Federal agencies, foreign governments and international organizations. NTIA also manages and promotes efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum for Federal users.

Copies of the spectrum reallocation report are available from NTIA's public affairs office. To order, contact Mary Wallach (mailing address: Room 1609 Herbert C. Hoover Building, 14th. Street & Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20230), phone: (202) 482-3999, E-mail: The report is also available on NTIA's home page at