April 17, 1998

Contact: Paige Darden


WASHINGTON, DC -- The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today released a report proposing spectrum management measures that will give radio astronomers greater access to spectrum. The report entitled, Radio Astronomy Spectrum Planning Options, discusses U.S. radio astronomy spectrum requirements and long-range planning options to address future spectrum requirements. Specifically, the report identifies several bands that could satisfy their spectrum requirements below 70 GHz where sharing with existing users may be feasible.

"The work of radio astronomers has provided much of our understanding of the physical properties of the universe, and it is important that their spectrum requirements be met in order for them to continue their contributions to humankind's knowledge of stellar physics, star formation, the interstellar medium, and the evolution of the Galaxy" said William T. Hatch, Acting Associate Administrator of NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management. "It is important as we enter the 21st Century that radio astronomers are able to continue their tradition of making important scientific discoveries."

Further, the report discusses four long-range spectrum planning options which would allow greater access to the radio frequency spectrum. These options are: 1) making more efficient use of current allocations; 2) reaccommodating incumbent spectrum users; 3) using non-spectrum technologies such as fiber optic cable instead of radio spectrum; and 4) using higher frequencies.

The report is a follow up to NTIA's March 1995 NTIA Requirements Study which found that the radio astronomy service spectrum requirement below 70 GHz is about 241 megahertz: 9.6 megahertz of additional allocations and access to an additional 231 megahertz by local coordination.

Other program reports include the U.S. National Spectrum Requirements: Projections and Trends, Land Mobile Spectrum Planning Options, and High Frequency (3-30 MHz) Spectrum Planning Options.

NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications 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 electromagnetic spectrum for Federal users.

For more information about the NTIA Radio Astronomy Spectrum Planning Options report, please call Joe Camacho, of NTIA's OSM, at 202-482-6374 or email at: Today's report can be viewed on the NTIA home page at; hard copies of the report are available by calling Mary Wallach, NTIA's Office of Public Affairs, at 202-482-3999.