The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is the Executive Branch agency principally responsible for developing and articulating domestic and international telecommunications policy. Accordingly, NTIA conducts studies and makes recommendations regarding telecommunications policies and presents Executive Branch views on telecommunications matters to the Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the public.
NTIA is also responsible for managing the Federal Government's use of the radio frequency spectrum. The FCC is responsible for managing spectrum used by the private sector, including state and local governments.
In support of these responsibilities, the NTIA has undertaken numerous spectrum-related studies. The objectives of these studies were to assess spectrum utilization, feasibility of reallocating government spectrum or relocating government systems, identify existing or potential compatibility problems between systems, provide recommendations for resolving any compatibility conflicts, and recommend changes to promote efficient and effective use of the radio spectrum and to improve spectrum management procedures.
Over the past decade, there has been enormous worldwide growth in the use of cellular-type personal mobile communications systems. Many countries initially introduced analog systems and are now transitioning to digital systems. Studies in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and elsewhere indicate that this growth in personal communications is likely to continue.
Third generation (3G) wireless systems will provide terrestrial and satellite-based broadband and multi-media capabilities, and represent a path for the evolution of existing cellular and personal communications services (PCS). Discussions relative to spectrum for third generation advanced mobile telecommunications systems are vital for administrations to plan their spectrum use and for industry to plan how it will meet the marketplace requirements of the future.
The International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) is an advanced mobile communications standard, and is considered to be a third generation wireless system. Key features of the IMT-2000 include a high degree of design commonality worldwide, compatibility of services within IMT-2000 and other fixed networks, and high-quality worldwide use and roaming capability for multi-media applications (e.g. video-teleconferencing and high-speed internet access). The ITU established an agenda item for the 2000 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-2000) which considered the "review of spectrum and regulatory issues for advanced mobile applications in the context of IMT-2000, noting that there is an urgent need to provide more spectrum for the terrestrial component of such applications and that priority should be given to terrestrial mobile needs, and adjustments to the Table of Frequency Allocations as necessary."(1)
The 1755-1850 MHz and 2500-2690 MHz bands were two of the candidate bands that WRC-2000 considered for IMT-2000 terrestrial systems. The United States position for this conference was negotiated by U.S. industry and government representatives, resulting in a proposal that the United States believed could be the basis for a compromise at the conference, given the conflicting positions of many of the other administrations. The United States suggested three possible bands for IMT-2000, including the 1710-1885 MHz band (favored by the Americas), the 2500-2690 MHz band (favored by Europe), and the 698-960 MHz band. At the conference, the United States stated that it would study these bands domestically. Since the WRC-2000 identified these candidate bands for IMT-2000 operations, promoting worldwide harmonization is a desired long-term goal.
In addition to the 1885-2025 MHz and 2110-2200 MHz bands already identified internationally for IMT-2000, the United States proposed and the WRC-2000 adopted regulatory flexibility, giving each administration the right to determine which bands or part of the three bands it may want to identify for IMT-2000. Also, the United States proposed to keep bands identified for IMT-2000 open to any technology rather than specifying a technology or standard for use in the spectrum.
Such national and international activities emphasize the need to investigate the accommodation of IMT-2000 wireless systems in several candidate frequency bands to include all or parts of the 698-746 MHz, 747-762 MHz, 777-792 MHz, 806-960 MHz, 1710-1850 MHz, 1850- 1990 MHz, 2110-2150 MHz, and 2500-2690 MHz bands.
Subsequent to the WRC-2000, the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, the Chairman of the FCC, and representatives of the State Department and the Department of Defense (DOD) met with White House staff to define the process by which spectrum would be identified for advanced mobile telecommunications systems, such as IMT-2000, in the United States. It was decided that studies would be performed by NTIA (on the 1755-1850 MHz band) and the FCC (on the 2500-2690 MHz band) to determine if either or both of these bands would be viable candidates for accommodation of future 3G mobile systems.
President Clinton signed an executive memorandum dated October 13, 2000, that stated the need and urgency for the United States to select radio frequency spectrum to satisfy the future needs of the citizens and businesses for mobile voice, high speed data, and Internet-accessible wireless capability; the guiding principles to be used for the development of advanced wireless systems; and the direction to the Federal agencies to carry out studies to identify spectrum that could be used by 3G wireless systems.(2) In summary, the President directed that the Secretary of Commerce, in cooperation with the FCC to:
All of the above work is expected to lead to the issuance of a final report to be released in the first half of 2001 that describes the potential use of all identified bands for advanced wireless applications, and the costs incurred for any potential relocation for the time frames of 2003, 2006, and 2010. Because of the need for interaction with the commercial sector, and the time required to evaluate costs and mission impacts, NTIA and the FCC will issue separate interim reports, followed by final reports that included mission impact, cost data, and time lines. This NTIA interim report primarily addresses the Federal use of the 1755-1850 MHz band, but data on Federal use of the 1710-1755 MHz band is also included.
The DOD released to NTIA on October 30, 2000, an initial report detailing the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) interactions between major DOD radiocommunications systems operating in the 1755-1850 MHz band and IMT-2000 systems. This report, entitled Department of Defense IMT-2000 Technical Working Group - Initial Report - Investigation of the Feasibility of Accommodating the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) 2000 Within the 1755-1850 MHz Band,(3) was used herein for evaluation of the potential for sharing the 1710-1850 MHz band with IMT-2000 systems.(4)
The entire 1710-1885 MHz frequency range is very heavily used by government and non-government users. In the 1755-1850 MHz portion alone 4,869 Federal Government assignments are registered in the Government Master File (GMF), as of September 2000. Internationally, the 1755-1850 MHz band falls in the 1710-1930 MHz band allocated on a primary basis to the fixed and mobile services for all three regions. The 1755-1850 MHz band is allocated for exclusive Federal Government use in the United States. Space command, control, range and range rate systems for earth stations transmission only (including installation on certain Navy ships) may be accommodated on a co-equal basis with the fixed and mobile services in the 1761-1842 MHz band. This band is a primary band for Federal spacecraft tracking, telemetry, and command (TT&C).
The objectives of this interim study are to document Federal Government use of the 1755-1850 MHz band, and to address issues relevant for possible use of the 1710-1850 MHz band to accommodate advanced mobile telecommunications systems, such as IMT-2000, in the United States relative to:
(1) the current and emerging Federal uses, and
(2) the potential for sharing between Federal systems and IMT-2000 systems.
This Interim Report does not address costs, as detailed information was not available in the time frame required for the release of this report. The costs to relocate the various Federal systems are, among other things, determined by a number of factors, including the frequency band to which the system is to be relocated, and the time frame for the relocation. The cost data, time lines, and operational impacts will be included in a subsequent report, to be released in the first half of 2001.
1. Resolution 721 (WRC-97) Agenda for the 1999 World Radiocommunication Conference, International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations, Volume 3, (Geneva: ITU 1998) at 319.
2. Presidential Memorandum, Subject: Advanced Mobile Communications/Third Generation Wireless Systems, The White House, October 13, 2000.
3. Initial Report - Investigation of the Feasibility of Accommodating the International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) 2000 Within the 1755-1850 MHz Band, IMT-2000 Technical Working Group, Department of Defense, October 27, 2000 [hereinafter DOD Initial Report].
4. This study may be accessed on the NTIA web page at the following URL address: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/reports/dodreport.