NTIA Press Releases
For Immediate Release
December 10, 2002
Contact: Clyde Ensslin or
Ranjit de Silva, 202-482-7002


Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael K. Powell and Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Nancy J. Victory today met formally to plan and coordinate the efforts of the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to improve U.S. spectrum policy. The meeting included senior spectrum policy teams from both organizations. Its purpose was to institutionalize and elevate the coordination between the two agencies beyond historical levels, given the importance of spectrum management to the country.

Spectrum users and industry participants in last spring's NTIA Spectrum Summit and public forums hosted by the FCC's Spectrum Policy Task Force emphasized the need for the FCC and NTIA to work together to develop spectrum policy for an era of technological convergence. As an immediate step to address this concern, the FCC and the NTIA announced today that in the near future they will execute a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing the terms of their interaction. Since the execution of the original MOU in the 1940's, the FCC and the NTIA's predecessor have managed spectrum without updating that document.

In today's meeting, the FCC and NTIA explored areas of common focus and priority in their efforts to maximize the value of a critical national asset. The discussion included:

  • The existing process for coordinating government and commercial use of the spectrum;
  • A mutual interest in fostering intensive use of the spectrum while diminishing the potential for harmful interference to existing spectrum users and new entrants;
  • Emerging technologies with potential for addressing a variety of spectrum access and interference concerns;
  • The issue of alternative licensing regimes and the success of the unlicensed model in promoting innovation;
  • Strengths and weaknesses of various licensing models, and the factors that should be weighed when considering adoption of particular licensing regimes, with a particular focus on sharing best practices to speed reform.

Both Chairman Powell and Assistant Secretary Victory acknowledged that progress in spectrum reform will only come through a sound technical foundation.

"The pace of development in spectrum-based services is such that remarkable breakthroughs quickly seem mundane," said Chairman Powell. "Our spectrum policies need to reflect this dynamic marketplace and to be flexible enough to keep up with innovation. I am pleased that Assistant Secretary Victory has made spectrum policy one of her top priorities. NTIA and the FCC are essential partners on the frontier of spectrum policy reform and I look forward to working closely with Assistant Secretary Victory on these important initiatives."

"Spectrum is the rocket fuel for the next wave of technological innovation," Assistant Secretary Victory said. "New spectrum technologies are moving from science fiction to the shelves of electronics stores and the cockpits of F-22 fighter jets. We need to boost the growth spectrum provides to our economy. The leadership of the FCC and the Administration are focused on the common objective of maximizing the value of the spectrum resource to the American people."

Chairman Powell and Assistant Secretary Victory have agreed to schedule the next formal spectrum leadership meeting in the early summer of 2003.

Photo from the meeting


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