For Immediate Release
February 29, 2000
Contact: Ranjit de Silva
(202) 482-7002
Art Brodsky


Washington- Gregory L. Rohde, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, today announced the launch of a new initiative on wireless communications that will enable the federal government to more actively promote innovation in the development and use of new communications technologies that, in turn, would improve the quality of life and expand business opportunities at home and abroad.

Rohde made the announcement in remarks at the annual convention of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association.

Rohde, who is also Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said the growing complexity of today's communications systems is posing challenges for both the private and public sectors. To deal with these issues, Rohde said he is launching the Wireless Innovations in Communications Initiative (WICI). The initiative, which deals with all forms of communications that are conducted without the use of wires, cables or glass fibers, provides a mechanism for senior government communications managers to meet with developers of communications technologies and determine how the federal government would benefit by the use of such technologies. The WICI committee's first meeting is planned for March 29, 2000.

Rohde said WICI calls for establishing a committee within the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) composed of senior experts in the federal government agencies. The WICI committee will schedule a series of meetings in which representatives from Federal agencies will discuss their communications requirements and developers of imaginative communications innovations will present the results of their work. The committee will identify new wireless communications innovations and new spectrum management approaches that will enable federal and other users to satisfy their communications needs more effectively and efficiently.

"This initiative will also afford the Administration an opportunity to promote communications innovations which will, in turn, enable businesses to expand and individuals to improve their standards of living," Rohde said. The initiative encompasses the full range of wireless communications requirements and technologies, including fixed, mobile, radars, navigation, and satellites, Rohde said.

Federal agencies, collectively, are among the largest users of communications services in the United States. Although a majority of communications services are provided by commercial entities through government contracts, the government owns and operates some facilities to perform certain critical functions. The radio spectrum is used to operate wireless portions of these communications facilities.

"Since demands for the spectrum are increasing rapidly by both the public and private sectors, there is an urgent need to ensure that this limited national resource is used in an effective and efficient manner," Rohde said. "This initiative by NTIA seeks to address the needs of all users," he added.

NTIA manages those uses of the radio frequency spectrum that are needed by the federal government to satisfy its radio communication needs.

NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications and information policies and represents the Executive Branch before Congress, other federal agencies, foreign governments and international organizations.


Note: Additional information regarding the WICI will be available on NTIA's website at