CONTACT: Paige Darden
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WASHINGTON, DC -- An advisory committee of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today released a report regarding policy considerations relevant to the transfer of Federal government spectrum to the private sector. The report, Federal Government Spectrum Relocation Implementation, is a result of the Spectrum Planning and Policy Advisory Committee's (SPAC) efforts to study spectrum issues and advise NTIA on the problems inherent in the reallocation of Federal government spectrum.

The report concluded that new, undefined commercial service systems could present considerable difficulty for Federal agencies due to potential interference problems. The report also states that sharing of "mixed-use" frequency bands, particularly by non-commercial industrial, business entities, is a viable solution as "there is an ingrained "symmetry" between such private internal systems and those operated by Federal agencies." According to the report, successful sharing correlates strongly with the similarities of type and usage patterns of the spectrum users -- the more closely matched the spectrum users are, the greater probability that they will be able to work out mutually compatible methods and rules of sharing.

The SPAC report discusses the operational integrity of Federal agency radio systems, relocation options (reimbursement alternatives, reaccommodation expenditures, etc.), frequency sharing optimization within mixed frequency bands, and public interest considerations.

Finally, the report recommends that in those instances where Federal government systems must be relocated to other bands or retuned, a five-year transition period is suggested for the move to be completed. This is due to the reality that efforts to retune or relocate Federal government systems is estimated to cost in excess of $460 million.

"Given the demands that have been placed on the Federal government to make more spectrum available for the private sector, the release of this report is quite timely," said Mark E. Crosby, president of the Industrial Telecommunications Association and chairman of the SPAC Task Force that authored this report. "We hope that national telecommunications regulators will carefully consider the report's guidance and will exhaust all possible alternatives, including the shared use of this valuable spectrum by private wireless entities, during the course of continued deliberations on this matter."

Richard D. Parlow, administrator of NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management and SPAC chairman, said "I am pleased to have the spectrum policy review and advice from the SPAC on this subject, NTIA recognizes that retuning or relocating Federal government systems and sharing in mixed-use frequency bands is neither cheap nor easily accomplished, and we appreciate your thoughtful advice on this important issue."

The SPAC functions solely as an advisory body, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. It is made of 15 members from the private sector and academia and four representatives of the Federal government. Its principal function is to advise the Secretary of Commerce through NTIA on radio frequency allocations and assignment planning, on means by which the effectiveness of the Federal government spectrum management may be enhanced, and during preparations for international conferences and other activities involving spectrum and telecommunications policy.

For more information about the SPAC, please call Richard Lancaster, of NTIA's OSM, at 202-482-4487. The SPAC 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.

The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications and information issues.