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Spectrum Management Reform:
Agreement on 5GHz Band Testing Criteria

Statement by Assistant Secretary Michael D. Gallagher on 5 GHz Agreement

“Our landmark agreement on testing criteria for unlicensed devices at the 5 GHz band not only showcases innovative sharing of spectrum between government and non-government users, it also meets a key goal of the President’s initiative on using the nation’s airwaves more efficiently.”

“The Bush Administration has successfully expanded the opportunities for spectrum use in ways that will spur technical innovation and increase competitiveness in the marketplace. Opening up this 255 MHz to unlicensed devices, facilitating the auction of 90 additional MHz for advanced wireless services this summer and providing unprecedented access in the 70, 80, and 90 GHz bands is a testament to the President’s commitment.”

“The credit for today’s outcome is overwhelmingly due to the U.S. Department of Defense’s technical tenacity and dedication to task. DoD has once again proved its ability to achieve an outcome that supports both economic security as well as national security. The technical coordination between DoD and private sector innovators will serve as a model for overcoming spectrum access challenges for years to come.”


The 5 GHz Working Group under International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC), which includes representatives from NTIA, the Department of Defense, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and industry has reached consensus on recommendations for certification criteria for Unlicensed-National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices employing Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS). By utilizing DFS, unlicensed devices may detect and avoid transmitting on channels being used by military radars vital to national defense.

The working group is seeking worldwide common approaches to defining DFS and its testing and certification. Its recommendations will be considered by the full ITAC as well as relevant federal agencies.

In addition to certification criteria, NTIA will provide the FCC with new compliance measurement procedures. Once these certification criteria and compliance measurement procedures are implemented by the FCC, industry can obtain certification needed to market devices for operation in 255 MHz of spectrum for radio local area network and wireless access devices.

More than three years ago, on January 31, 2003, United States government and industry adopted a U.S. position for international negotiations on how wireless devices should operate in the 5GHz band. Since that time, the FCC has conducted and completed rulemaking in the 5250-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz bands providing access to 255 MHz of spectrum on a non-interference basis for U-NII devices as long as the primary users of the band are protected from interference. A significant amount of analysis, testing and evaluation by all parties has taken place over the past three years.

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