NTIA Press Releases
For Immediate Release
Friday, March 30, 2001
Contact: Ranjit de Silva
(202) 482-7002


Limited sharing of 1710-1850 MHz band an option, report says

WASHINGTON-Limited sharing of government-controlled radio frequency bands between commercial and government users and band segmentation to accommodate high-speed mobile Internet service (third generation wireless) in the U.S. may be possible under certain conditions that will be explored further, the Commerce Department's National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) said in a report released today.

"This report indicates that certain sharing/segmentation options may be possible in the 1710-1850 MHz band," John Sopko, acting Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, said. "The Commerce Department's report and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report on the 2500-2690 MHz band will help the Commission, in coordination with the department, proceed with the task of identifying additional spectrum for third generation wireless systems," Sopko said.

The NTIA report is a technical analysis of the potential for third generation wireless systems to operate without causing interference in the 1710-1850 MHz radio frequency bands now used exclusively for critical radio communications by the Defense Department and other federal government agencies.

A companion study by the FCC focused on the 2500 -2690 MHz band which is used mostly by educational institutions and multi-point distribution systems. The two frequency bands were among others identified at the World Radiocommunication Conference last year as potential bands for third generation wireless systems, an advanced mobile telecommunications service that includes high-speed Internet access.

The NTIA analysis looked at current spectrum uses, the potential for sharing in the band, and cost estimates for relocating incumbent government users, if such relocation becomes necessary. The study, which includes an analysis by the Department of Defense, said that unrestricted sharing of allocated spectrum by third generation wireless systems and existing federal government users will not be possible. But it noted that certain viable sharing and segmentation options exist if critical government communication systems are protected, if funds are made available to relocate federal government systems if relocation is necessary, and if comparable spectrum can be found for relocated systems.

The study was conducted in response to a directive issued last October by then President Clinton which directed the Secretary of Commerce, in cooperation with the FCC, to begin the process of selecting spectrum for third generation wireless systems. The report released today follows interim reports issued by NTIA and the FCC last November.

NTIA said it will continue to explore various options in the days and months ahead. Under a plan developed last year, the FCC will decide this July, in consultation with NTIA, what spectrum will be allocated for third generation wireless systems.

Note: The full text of the report can be accessed through NTIA's web site www.ntia.doc.gov