MISSION AND SCOPE
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): (a) serves through the Secretary of Commerce as the principal adviser to the President on domestic and international communications and information policy-making; (b) promotes affordable access to telecommunications services for all Americans and competition in domestic and international markets; (c) manages all Federal use of the electromagnetic spectrum and generally promotes efficient use of spectrum; (d) in partnership with business and other Federal agencies, conducts telecommunications technology research, including standards-setting; and (e) awards grants through the Technology Opportunities Program and Public Telecommunications Facilities Program.
NTIA is unique among Federal Government agencies in that the work of the agency is focused exclusively on telecommunications and information. The agency's expertise encompasses every aspect of telecommunications, including community network applications, domestic policy, international policy, spectrum management, and technical telecommunications research and engineering.
With roughly $75 million available for its activities, NTIA's approximately 250 employees work to promote the efficient and effective use of telecommunications and information resources in a manner that creates job opportunities, enhances U.S. competitiveness, and raises the standard of living. Given the limited resources available, NTIA addresses the highest priority issues in telecommunications and information today and maximizes the return on those resources by utilizing this expertise throughout its programs. Our analysts bring to their work an appreciation of the complexities of developing national policies, as well as the ability to draw on technical expertise to understand how those policies will facilitate or hinder development, and application expertise to gauge the impact on communities and individuals. This internal synergy is critical to NTIA's credibility and respect in the community; the agency's influence and advocacy record is a direct result of this synergy. NTIA's unique talents as an agency are readily apparent in the current record of accomplishments on a wide range of telecommunications issues, including universal service, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, global electronic commerce, Internet development, and digital broadcasting.
NTIA is an active participant in the Department of Commerce's strategic planning efforts and has used the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) as a guideline for NTIA's activities in 2000. NTIA continues to improve the management and effectiveness of the agency within the strategic planning framework. Employees at all levels, as well as customers, stakeholders, and external experts, are welcome to contribute to the continuing development of the agency's strategic plan.
NTIA's accomplishments during the year 2000 are presented below in the context of the agency's vision, mission and strategic goals.
"NTIA envisions a world where telecommunications and information technologies are used to protect and improve the global quality of life."
"NTIA's mission is to promote the efficient and effective use of telecommunications and information resources in a manner that creates job opportunities, enhances U.S. competitiveness, and raises the standard of living."
NTIA GOALS 2000 -- 2005
NTIA's goals define the agency's priority efforts. The four agency goals are considered equal in terms of priority for the agency. Although there is some overlap between the goals, every effort has been to clearly identify the type of work that falls under each goal. NTIA's 2000-2005 goals are:
GOAL 1: Promote open markets and encourage competition.
GOAL 2: Ensure spectrum provides the greatest benefit to all people.
GOAL 3: Advance the public interest in telecommunications, mass media, and information.
GOAL 4: Promote the availability and sources of advanced telecommunications and information services.
GOAL 1: Promote Open Markets and Encourage Competition
Activities under this goal include opening markets, increasing competitive choices, advocating more competition in the international satellite services market, advancing U.S. policy interests in bilateral, regional, and international fora, and assisting developing countries in strengthening their telecommunications infrastructures. The most significant 2000 accomplishments in this area include continuing efforts to:
- implement the pro-competitive provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996;
- promote competitive, private sector leadership of Internet domain name system (DNS) management;
- privatize the two principal intergovernmental satellite communications organizations (INTELSAT and Inmarsat);
- limit governmental intervention in the competitive, commercial negotiation process for international Internet connectivity agreements; and,
- advance U.S. policy interests in Latin America, Argentina, and Europe.
NTIA develops policies promoting greater competition in telecommunications and information markets. NTIA's policies in this area are necessarily intertwined with another important objective (under Goal 3), that of promoting affordable access to services for all Americans. For more than a decade, NTIA has advocated State and Federal action to introduce and expand competition in all telecommunications and information services markets, particularly markets for local telecommunications services. Greater competition will lead to lower prices and more choices for consumers, as well as faster deployment of advanced telecommunications networks and services.
Fostering Competition in Telecommunications Markets. Many of NTIA's activities in 2000 were related to the fostering of competition. These activities took place in a number of contexts, many following from the pro-competitive provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that affected competition among local exchange carriers. In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), NTIA urged the FCC to take care that any access charge reform is consistent with requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to preserve and advance universal service, to assure that universal service funds are being used for their intended purposes, to ensure that interexchange rates in rural and high-cost areas are comparable to those charged in urban areas, and to guarantee affordable long distance rates for all Americans.
Promoting Competitive, Private Sector Leadership of Internet Domain Name System Management
NTIA in 2000 participated in policy developments with respect to the public interest in mass media and Internet. These include issues affecting television, cable, radio, and the Internet.
Throughout 2000, NTIA continued its efforts to promote competitive, private sector leadership of Internet domain name system (DNS) management. Along with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization selected by the Department of Commerce in 1998 as the project partner in this undertaking, great strides were made in 2000 towards achieving true DNS management privatization.
Part of these efforts included extending several agreements between the Department of Commerce and ICANN to continue work on this historic privatization process. Among the agreements are the umbrella Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which recognizes ICANN as the not-for-profit organization to which DNS functions are being transitioned; the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) for research and study on enhancements to the security and operations of the Internet root server system; and a contract for the performance of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions, which coordinates the technical operation of the Internet. Also, NTIA, working with the Technology Administration, licensed to ICANN the Department's InterNIC trademark, which is known worldwide through the Web page http://www.internic.net managed by NTIA as a neutral source for authoritative information about domain name registration. The licensing of this mark to ICANN promises to facilitate availability of accurate, up-to-date information about the DNS to Internet users worldwide.
NTIA also continued its work to improve and enhance the .us domain, the country code top level domain of the DNS that corresponds to the United States. In August, NTIA issued a Request for Comment on a proposed statement of work for the operation of the .us domain. Taking into account the public comments received, NTIA expects to incorporate a revised statement of work in a request for proposals for management and administration of the .us domain space. Further, working in cooperation with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), NTIA requested that ICANN undertake administration of the .arpa top level domain in cooperation with the Internet community under the guidance of the Internet Architecture Board. As a result, the .arpa domain, now managed as part of the IANA functions, has been made available as a technical, limited use domain for additional basic Internet infrastructure applications.
NTIA also worked with a broad range of governments in ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) to develop the document Principles for the Delegation and Administration of Country Code Top Level Domains. The voluntary guidelines set forth a framework of accountability for delegation and administration of country code top-level domains (such as .us, .uk, and .au for example) needed to evolve the DNS into a more robust, certain, and reliable system. In an effort to encourage other countries to implement policies consistent with the GAC principles, NTIA also worked bilaterally with governments around the world. Further, in NTIA's request for comments the United States affirmatively signaled its intentions to implement the GAC principles within the .us domain.
ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) which was implemented in December 1999, has proven to be an efficient, inexpensive procedure for the resolution of disputes related to cybersquatting.-- the bad-faith registration of trademarks as domain names. The UDRP was based on groundbreaking work conducted by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at the request of the United States to develop recommendations for the protection of trademarks within the domain name space. In an effort to build on this success, NTIA, in cooperation with the Patent and Trademark Office, worked with 19 other countries to request further work by WIPO to study and develop recommendations in relation to the bad faith, abusive, misleading, or unfair use of additional categories of names, including personal names and trade names. In addition, a second letter of request was issued inviting WIPO to develop voluntary guidelines for the administrators of country code top level domains, to establish practices and policies to curb abusive and bad faith registration of protected names, and to resolve related disputes. WIPO has already begun the work requested and expects to issue its findings in 2001.
The ICANN process also made great achievements in 2000 to complete the tasks contemplated under the MoU. Among its accomplishments, ICANN concluded a historic online election for five at-large members of the organization's board of directors. The election process began with a worldwide membership drive that ICANN conducted from May through July. The response from the Internet community was phenomenal and resulted in over 158,000 Internet users from around the world applying for ICANN membership. With the elections complete, ICANN will conduct a study on the at-large membership experience. The study will review the concepts, structure, and processes of ICANN at-large membership and will allow and encourage public participation in the investigation.
Further, in November, ICANN selected new top-level domains (TLDs) for addition to the global Internet. ICANN's selection followed an 18-month public consultation on new TLDs, including discussion at an open, public forum that took place during the meeting. The following new TLDs were selected from some 47 applications:
.info - an open, general purpose domain.
.biz - for businesses
.name - for individual persons
.pro - for professionals (such as doctors and lawyers)
.museum - for museums and related institutions
.aero - for airline and air travel information
.coop - for cooperative businesses
The new TLDs selected by ICANN represent the first significant expansion of global-use identifiers since the creation of the domain name system and promise to bring Internet users around the world new and innovative services, greater choice, and a richer Internet experience. Further, the diversity of the new TLDs selected provide a glimpse at how the domain name system of the future may be structured and enhanced. The new TLDs are expected to be available online early in 2001.
Privatization of INTELSAT and Inmarsat. Since 1993, NTIA has worked with the FCC and State Department to bring about a pro-competitive privatization of the two principal intergovernmental satellite communications organizations (IGOs) --- INTELSAT and Inmarsat. In 2000, the INTELSAT Assembly of Parties agreed to a privatization package which largely conforms to the Open-Market Reorganization for the Betterment of International Telecommunications (ORBIT) Act, Public Law 06-180, passed in 2000, which set forth a variety of criteria for a satisfactory privatization. Under the present schedule, privatization will be completed July 2001. Inmarsat was successfully privatized in the spring of 1998. NTIA expects that privatization of these two enterprises will enhance competition in the global satellite-based communications market by removing advantages previously accorded the IGOs vis a vis existing U.S. and foreign service providers.
International Charging Arrangements for Internet Services (ICAIS). The issue of whether governments should intervene in the competitive, commercial negotiation process for international Internet connectivity agreements first arose in the Asia Pacific region in 1998. In May 2000, telecommunications Ministers from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum agreed to a) recognize a set of principles recognizing the continued commercial nature of these agreements and b) embark on a two-year study process on possible implications of ICAIS for international Internet development. Similar issues arose in June in the Organization of American States, through the CITEL forum, where the United States and Mexico were named co-rapporteurs for an ongoing ICAIS study. The issue also arose in July 2000, during conclusion of the U.S.-Japan Enhanced Deregulation Initiative agreement, and in the G-8 leaders forum.
In late September- early October 2000, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) convened its quadrennial World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly (WTSA). The WTSA, among other activities, adopted -- with a U.S. reservation -- a policy approach (Recommendation D.50) on charging for international Internet traffic between carriers (ICAIS). This policy approach is representative of ITU member states' views on many related development issues. The new approach not only poses a threat to an unregulated Internet but also to numerous other U.S. international communications policy interests. After extensive debates on how to chart the future of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), agreement was reached on a work program for the next four years, which will promote interconnectivity and interoperability among networks, products and services in a multi-vendor, multi-platform competitive environment. In December, an ITU-T subgroup, Study Group 3, initiated activities to implement Recommendation D.50 on a global basis. NTIA has participated in all these bilateral and regional fora with several aims: to promote greater localized and regional Internet buildout (infrastructure and content) using competitive models; to connect as many people as possible to the Internet on an affordable basis; to ensure investment incentives remain for greater Internet development; to advocate domestic privatization of state-owned telecommunications entities that now provide Internet wholesale connections, and other competitive reforms to ensure greater affordability and supply channels; and to focus on solutions that do not lock in current traffic and network design asymmetries between the United States and points overseas.
Advancing U.S. Policy Interests and Assisting Developing Countries
Latin American Telecommunications Summit (LATS): In March 2000, NTIA organized the Fifth Latin American Telecommunications Summit in Lima, Peru. NTIA was assisted by the U.S. International Trade Administration, the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, and the Telecommunications Industry Association. LATS has been an extremely successful event for several reasons. First, LATS presents a unique opportunity for senior Latin American and U.S. Government telecommunications officials and industry representatives from approximately 11 Latin American nations to meet to discuss major telecommunications policy matters affecting the region. Second, LATS affords participants a better understanding of the telecommunications markets and regulatory environments of each of the participating countries. Third, it provides U.S. companies with match-making opportunities with Latin American companies that represent the fastest growing telecommunications and information technology region in the world. Building upon past successes, NTIA is organizing a practical and interactive event tentatively scheduled for September 2001, focusing on the immediate needs and interests of the region.
Argentina: NTIA has contributed considerably towards Argentina's effort to restructure their telecommunications regulations in the area of interconnection, licensing, and spectrum management. NTIA provided the Argentine government with market studies demonstrating that when governments adopt pro-competitive and liberalized policies in the telecommunications sector, they attract foreign investment and creates infrastructure build-out. NTIA has received positive feedback from the private sector in so far as the policies adopted after our consultations have been pro-competitive.
Europe: In 2000, NTIA worked to ensure greater market access for U.S. companies under Europe's EU99 Review initiative. The Review is the European Commission's (EC's) proposed overhaul of its rules for electronic communications, which puts particular emphasis on the stimulation of affordable high-speed Internet access. The Review also aims to provide a light-touch legal framework for market players. The Commission's goal is to drive forward the liberalization of telecommunications markets by adapting regulation to the information society and the digital revolution. As European Union (EU) directives provide a regulatory framework that harmonizes the relevant legislation of the 15 EU Member States, the development and effective implementation of a new framework is critical to U.S. companies that plan to offer services throughout Europe. The EC opened a proceeding in early 2000 in which NTIA, as part of a U.S. Government interagency team, contributed detailed comments on numerous aspects of the proposals.
In July, the EC issued the EU99 package of legislative proposals covering licensing and authorization, interconnection, unbundling of the local loop, universal service, data protection and other key issues. As the proposals are designed to streamline some 28 EU telecommunications laws into just eight, this package of proposals represents a comprehensive reform of the regulatory framework for telecommunications in Europe. It aims to create the best conditions for a dynamic and competitive industry in Europe for the benefit of consumers and the European economy. The proposals are now being considered by the European Parliament and the Council (Member States). It is expected the directives will be approved in early 2001 and implemented in 2002, but some measures, such as the Unbundling the Local Loop Regulation which was adopted in December, have been fast-tracked by the eEurope initiative. NTIA continues to work with industry, other Federal agencies, the European Commission, EU Member States, and U.S. embassies to share U.S. industry perspectives and advance U.S. Government positions on aspects of the EU99 proposals in order to influence the proposed legislation.
GOAL 2: Ensure Spectrum Provides the Greatest Benefit to All People
The activities under this goal include developing spectrum plans and policies for both government and private-sector users, satisfying the spectrum needs of Federal Government agencies, advancing spectrally efficient technologies and improving the management of Federal and non-Federal spectrum to maximize the value of spectrum to society. Continuing to manage and improve the spectrum management process is a fundamental activity vital to ensuring the Nation's spectrum needs can be accommodated. While many aspects of this process are highlighted in the detailed description that follows, the key contributions NTIA made in 2000 to advance the Nation's use of the spectrum include:
- improving "all hazards warning" systems for emergency notifications to the public and spurring the development of a way for such warnings to be sent through the Internet;
- enhancing public safety and interoperablity;
- assessing ultrawideband technologies and working to provide regulatory accommodations for them;
- advancing mobile communications, specifically Third Generation (3G) Wireless Systems; and,
- establishing the Wireless Innovation in Communications Initiative (WICI).
Managing the spectrum and making future spectrum plans requires technical engineering expertise. This expertise is used to ensure that the spectrum policies, rules, and regulations required for proper spectrum management nationally and internationally are technically valid; to derive the necessary technical facts that will lead to resolution of spectrum issues and problems; to provide a technical and engineering basis for future spectrum planning and standards; and to provide new ways to adopt new spectrum efficient technologies so the Federal Government can use the spectrum efficiently and effectively.
Spectrum Authorization and Coordination
Frequency Assignments and Systems Reviews. The Federal Government must have sufficient spectrum to meet its radiocommunication needs in order to carry out its mandated missions, including national defense, air traffic control, law enforcement, management of natural resources, emergency warning and disaster relief operations, and other public safety functions. This year, NTIA processed 94,570 requests for frequency assignment actions as compared to 80,012 in 1999. The assignment actions included 19,843 new requests; 40,732 requests for modification of existing assignments; 12,423 requests for deletion of existing assignments; and 21,572 requests for recoordination of previous submissions (revotes). NTIA's management process, which is continually being improved to increase efficiency, has successfully ensured that all assignment requests comply with the rules and regulations and do not cause or receive interference. As of the end of 2000, NTIA has authorized 53 Federal Government agencies 438,568 assignments to operate its radiocommunications. NTIA' Spectrum Planning Subcommittee of the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee reviewed and recommended approval for 76 radiocommunication systems (valued at approximately $4.6 billion) submitted by the Federal Government agencies which are planned to be deployed in future.
Automated Federal Spectrum Management System. NTIA continued to maintain and enhance the automated Federal spectrum management system under a program begun in 1993. Included in the program is a capability for total electronic transfer of Federal spectrum management data and information to include a standard suite of software for use with a personal computer for the Federal agencies to technically select spectrum that is interference-free, submit applications for spectrum support, and validate that the spectrum requested is within the rules and regulations governing spectrum authorization. The new PC-based system has been developed by DoD's Joint Spectrum Management Center (JSC) under the guidance of NTIA. NTIA and DoD are both funding various parts of the system called the SPECTRUM XXI (SXXI) System. NTIA conducted 10 SXXI training classes from January-November 2000, attended by nearly 120 frequency management personnel from over 15 Federal Government agencies. NTIA also initiated planning for a series of training sessions in 2001.
IRAC Documentation Automation. A contract was awarded in 1998 for the conversion of the IRAC archives to an electronic medium of CD-ROM with a full-search capability. In January 1999, the contract was modified to include separate CD-ROMs for classified and unclassified information and Web browser interface software. In 2000, the conversion of archives to an electronic medium was completed; and, both classified and unclassified IRAC document databases were made available electronically via the NTIA local area network to NTIA/OSM personnel authorized access and via CD-ROMs to all of the Federal spectrum management community. Also, plans were pursued to identify the security standards and automation architecture required to provide online access to these electronic documents via the NTIA Web site for all of the Federal spectrum management community early in 2001. Nonetheless, the IRAC document database including the IRAC subcommittee documents is now available electronically on CD-ROM.
Data Dictionary. NTIA continued its development of a new data dictionary that will contain all the necessary fields of information for NTIA and the Federal agencies to accomplish the various Federal spectrum management processes, such as performing interference analysis and compliance with the NTIA Manual in relation to requests for frequency assignment, spectrum certification, and spectrum policy development and resolution. NTIA also maintained its previously developed spectrum management data dictionary, which defines the information necessary to obtain a frequency assignment authorization or a spectrum certification. NTIA also initiated planning to enhance its electronic spectrum management. Improvements will include: incorporating the amplified Data Dictionary into the FMRS and Spectrum XXI; integrating the FMRS and Spectrum XXI processes; and increasing the use of automation when reviewing applications for spectrum certification.
Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC). The IRAC is comprised of representatives from 20 Federal agencies (major spectrum users). The IRAC is an integral part of the Federal Government's spectrum management process. This committee provides: (1) advice to NTIA relative to spectrum management; (2) resolution of various spectrum issues and problems among Federal agencies, among the Federal Government and the non-government sector through the FCC, and among the Federal Government and foreign countries and international fora such as the International Telecommunication Union; and (3) recommendations to NTIA relative to national and international spectrum issues, Federal spectrum policy and Federal rules and regulations. The IRAC is chaired and administered by NTIA. The IRAC and its subcommittees and ad hoc groups have conducted approximately 117 meetings and addressed over 3,078 documents in 2000. These documents addressed various Federal, non-Federal, and international spectrum management, policy, and planning issues and problems
All Hazards Warning. Every year, thousands of U.S. residents die, are injured, or lose property because they do not know early enough about imminent hazards, disasters, or emergencies. An all hazard warning system can help save lives and reduce property damage. NTIA is committed to saving lives, reducing damage and suffering, and speeding recovery from natural or man-made disasters through the efforts of the Public Safety Program (PSP).
Since 1998, the PSP participated in an informal inter-agency working group organized under Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPRG). NPRG brought together representatives from more than a dozen Federal agencies. These agencies formed this multi-agency working group with the intent to save lives by finding combined solutions to give people better, faster and more effective hazard warnings. NTIA's role is to help bring Federal Government agencies involved in weather forecasting and disaster management together with private sector telecommunications firms to develop alternative means of delivering weather and other disaster warnings using modern telecommunications technologies, e.g., advanced television receivers, wireline and wireless telecommunications devices, and the Internet. On July 17, 2000, NTIA, in cooperation with the inter-agency working group, hosted a roundtable event. NTIA invited consumer advocacy groups, state and local public safety officials and a cross section of the telecommunications industries to discuss the possibilities of disseminating hazard warnings through a variety of telecommunications devices. As a result of this roundtable event, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) located in Fort Collins, Colorado, volunteered to work with NTIA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the Hazard Ready ISP Pilot project. The goal of this project is to develop a method for ISP companies to send hazard warnings to their customers while they are surfing the Internet. On November 1, 2000, the prototype of this system was announced and demonstrated at an NTIA press conference. The PSP will continue to work under the mission of saving lives, reducing damage and suffering, and speeding recovery from natural or man-made disasters.
Public Safety Program (PSP) Enhancement: In 2000, NTIA continued to add staff to the Public Safety Program (PSP), as provided for in the FY 1999 budget. NTIA has been enhancing its public safety program staff to: (1) identify the long-range spectrum requirements for the next 10 years; (2) develop a strategy to provide sufficient spectrum for growth of the current services, advanced technology, and interoperability; and (3) develop and implement a plan to meet these requirements. Through this program, NTIA will: (1) ensure adequate access in coordination with the FCC to spectrum for public safety communications for the safe, effective, and efficient protection of life and property consistent with the Vice President's National Performance Review objectives; (2) ensure compatible sharing and interoperability among Federal, state, and local entities where required; (3) provide leadership and Federal liaison with various public safety groups; (4) ensure that technical standards are available to ensure interoperability; (5) promote the application of advanced technology to provide spectrum savings and mission effectiveness; (6) increase the responsiveness to critical public safety issues; (7) increase government, industry, and public sector awareness of administration policy and objectives; (8) increase the awareness and knowledge of the use of commercial services as a means of providing telecommunication services to government agencies; and (9) identify the most appropriate options to fund state and local upgrade of their telecommunications systems.
The primary efforts of the Public Safety Program involved direct leadership, policy, and technical support to the Public Safety Wireless Network (PSWN) program and the Federal Law Enforcement Wireless Users Group (FLEWUG). The PSWN is a National Partnership for Reinventing Government Initiative charged with studying and designing the public safety communications network of the future. Specific PSWN activity that PSP has had direct involvement in over the past year includes co-authoring and editing a number of program reports dealing with spectrum, interoperability, pilot projects, advanced technology, state and local partnerships, as well as guidance and advice in preparing filings to the Federal Communications Commission concerning current public safety issues. The FLEWUG is a member organization of Federal public safety agencies who meet and deliberate issues relevant to federal public safety. The PSWN, as a program, supports much of the activity of the FLEWUG. Continued direct support to the PSWN/FLEWUG is vital to ensure the efficient and effective use of spectrum resources in a shared and interoperable environment of the future.
The NTIA PSP developed technical responses to FCC rulemaking proceedings on behalf of the FLEWUG supporting the Federal Government proposal for out-of-band emission limits for future 700 MHZ commercial transmitters. The NTIA PSP developed technical and policy responses to the FCC representing the views of Federal law enforcement agencies in the following FCC proceedings: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Tribal Land Communications; Notice of Inquiry for Software Defined Radios; and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the 4.9 GHz of Spectrum Transferred from the Federal Government.
Significant effort and resources have been devoted to supporting Federal agency positions on public safety standards efforts within the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) TR-8 standards setting committees. This includes policy and technical support in developing draft standards and defending Federal agency positions. The PSP, working through ITS, has developed draft TIA standards on Project 25, which will ensure that equipment from different manufacturers are able to interoperate with one another. These standards pertain to the processes and procedures necessary to ensure compatibility. During 2000, draft standards were created for voice traffic and are awaiting TIA approval. Work on data/Over the Air re-keying (OTAR) and trunking began and these documents are expected to be submitted to TIA for ballot as full standards as well. Additionally, PSP staff serve on the Project 25 steering committee.
On May 22, 2000, a new transatlantic Public Safety Partnership Project (PSPP) was signed to create specifications for mobile broadband services which will serve the future public safety needs of over 800 million citizens in North America and in the European Union. This project will create standards for wireless, high-speed data (2 mega bits and above) equipment for the public safety users. The PSP will remain an active participant in fora that sets standards for both voice and wideband data that best represents the interest of the public safety community. Public safety standards are important to ensure interoperability among users and competition among equipment manufacturers.
The FCC is in the process of a rulemaking relative to developing service rules for the newly allocated 24 MHZ of spectrum that was formerly TV channels 60-69. NTIA is working with the FCC to develop procedures in the licensing of this spectrum and to provide a means to establish interoperability among Federal, state, local governments. To this end, NTIA, along with the Department of Justice, the Treasury, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have co-sponsored and are actively participating in the FCC's recently established Public Safety National Coordination Committee. The advisory committee objectives are to: (1) develop an operational plan to achieve national interoperability and (2) develop technical standards to achieve full interoperability and network integration.
Federal/State/Local Government Interoperability and Partnerships. Since the completion of the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee (PSWAC) effort in late 1997, NTIA has been working with other Federal agencies and with state and local officials to enhance opportunities to partner with these public safety entities to accomplish common goals and share resources where practical. The State of Wisconsin provides an example of Federal Government partnering with state governments in establishing shared and joint-use public safety telecommunications pilots. The State plans to establish a $100 million dollar state-wide radiocommunications system to satisfy its public safety requirements. The State has agreed to let the Federal Government agencies that have operations within the state use this system as well. NTIA has agreed to provide spectrum resources on a temporary basis for this pilot experimental system. If this model of resource sharing works over the next several years, it could very well be a model for other states.
NTIA continues to develop partnerships, in cooperation with the PSWN and the FLEWUG, with state and regional governments to enhance interoperability at all levels of government. Experience gained with the State of Wisconsin and other potential pilots will enable us to provide for effective communications solutions for the Nation's public safety agencies.
The PSP, working with the PSWN, served as lead on a report entitled Public Safety Frequency Spectrum: Highlighting Current and Future Needs. The report describes the public safety spectrum shortage and offers valuable alternatives to alleviate these needs. The document provides recommendations concerning three important issues: additional frequency bands that could allow public safety to take advantage of wideband data and video technology, additional spectrum that could be acquired to fulfill interoperability requirements, and the concept of sharing. Additionally, working with the other Federal agencies, PSP was instrumental in obtaining Federal, co-equal access to the 700 MHZ band through numerous filings with the FCC. Such access will foster shared, joint-use systems and create an environment of not only sharing spectrum resources, but finances and infrastructure as well.
Strategic Spectrum Planning (SSP) Program. In 2000, the SSP Program continued its long-range spectrum planning effort by preparing and publishing the NTIA Interim Report on the potential for accommodation of Third Generation (3G) advanced mobile services in the 1755-1850 MHZ Federal band, as called for in the Presidential Executive Memorandum of October 13, 2000. This report details the Federal use of the 1755-1850 MHZ band, and proposes two options for sharing with 3G mobile systems. A final report will be prepared in March 2001 that will include an assessment of alternate frequency bands and cost estimates for possible relocation of Federal systems from the band.
The Program also convened the Spectrum Planning Subcommittee's Working Group 7 (Spectrum Planning), which drafted the Federal Long-Range Spectrum Plan. This is the first long-range spectrum plan approved by the Federal agencies, which details the current and future spectrum usage of the Federal agencies, and lists unsatisfied spectrum requirements. This plan will be updated as the spectrum requirements of the Federal agencies evolve or as changes to the Federal part of the National Table of Frequency Allocations are approved.
The Program also completed and published the NTIA report addressing radiolocation spectrum planning. This report was requested by the Department of Defense members of the IRAC. The report addressed the current and future radar requirements of the Federal Government, the reduction in available spectrum for accommodating radars, and the future spectrum requirements for Federal radar.
Spectrum Information Available to the Public. In 1995, NTIA launched its spectrum Web site (www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/osmhome.html), which consisted of 13 pages and received approximately 50 visits per day. Today, the site consists of approximately 400 pages, includes the full text of 22 reports and the full text of the NTIA Manual of Regulations and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management. The Spectrum home page receives approximately 120 visits per day. About 75 percent of those visits come from non-Federal government sites, and 15 percent of the visits come from sites outside the United States. The most frequently visited page is the U.S. Frequency Allocation Chart, which receives over 200 requests per day.
Spectrum Management Training. NTIA spectrum management experts, in conjunction with experts from Motorola and ComSearch, successfully conducted a radio frequency spectrum management training seminar for 19 spectrum managers from 16 developing countries. The annual seminar is two weeks long, and is conducted in Washington under the auspices of the United States Telecommunications Training Institute (USTTI). The seminar is an industry and government joint venture that provides free training to spectrum professionals and regulators from developing nations.
This was the 17th year that NTIA has held the USTTI seminar. The theme of the 2000 seminar was "Spectrum Management for the 21st Century," and it covered basic spectrum management and computer-aided techniques, emerging new technologies, the development of commercial enterprises, and special topics in communications satellites and land mobile communications. The NTIA Coordinator of the USTTI seminars received the USTTI annual trainer's award for excellence. NTIA experts lectured and participated in panel discussions with a group of senior government regulatory officials in a special USTTI spectrum management seminar preparing for the 2000 World Radiocommunication Conference of the International Telecommunication Union. NTIA experts also participated and lectured in a special USTTI seminar on telecommunications privatization.
NTIA successfully conducted two radio frequency spectrum management training seminars for 58 Federal Government employees in 2000, many from outside the Washington area. The seminars are taught by NTIA and experts from other Federal agencies. The annual training seminars permit the students to discuss and confer with NTIA senior officials, resulting in NTIA providing guidance on problem resolution; the seminar also enables NTIA to obtain a good understanding of the spectrum management problems being experienced out in the field areas. NTIA can then make changes to its spectrum management processes to eliminate or minimize the problems and difficulties.
NTIA Spectrum Newsletter. NTIA initiated a new spectrum newsletter, NTIA Spectrum News, in 2000, and published two issues. One issue focused on the 2000 World Radio Conference and the other focused on new space technologies and other current spectrum problems. Each issue spotlights a foreign country and their spectrum management. Thousands of copies are distributed internationally via postal mail, and the newsletter is also available on the NTIA Web site. NTIA has received many favorable comments from the readers.
Emergency Readiness Planning (ERP). In 2000, NTIA continued its efforts to populate and maintain an electronic database relative to Federal priorities for using the spectrum during a wartime emergency. Upon completion of that effort, NTIA will produce the entire five-part, subject NTIA ERP for Use of the Radio Spectrum in final draft and forward it to the Director, Office of Technology Policy, within the Executive Office of the President, for final approval. Upon population of the database, NTIA will issue a classified CD-ROM containing the complete ERP including the certified database of wartime spectrum priority data. This plan and its associated database will be the basis for NTIA and the Federal Government to exercise spectrum responsibilities during all types of emergency scenarios.
Continuity of Operations. NTIA completed a total revision of the NTIA Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan. The revised COOP provides current policy and guidance for NTIA personnel to ensure that critical or essential functions and operations are continued in the event of an emergency or threat of an emergency. In general, the purpose of COOP preparedness activities is to ensure that the appropriate and necessary people, equipment, and information are available to perform essential functions in a new operating location or environment when the home site becomes unusable or when a failure of equipment, etc., means that emergency actions(s) must be undertaken. At the end of 2000, preparations for the installation of the work station and ancillary equipment at the alternate site were nearing completion with installation slated for early 2001.
Spectrum Engineering And Analysis. Managing the spectrum and making future spectrum plans requires technical engineering expertise. This expertise is used to ensure that the spectrum policies and rules and regulations required for proper spectrum management nationally and internationally are technically valid; to derive the necessary technical facts that will lead to resolution of spectrum issues and problems; provide a technical and engineering basis for future spectrum planning and standards; and provide new ways to adopt new spectrum efficient technologies so the Federal Government can use the spectrum efficiently and effectively. To address these functions, NTIA continued or completed the following engineering and analysis activities.
Efforts to Provide Regulatory Accommodation For Ultra-wideband (UWB) Technologies
Recent advances in microcircuit and other technologies have resulted in the development of pulsed radar and communications systems with very narrow pulse widths and very wide bandwidths. These ultrawideband (UWB) systems have instantaneous bandwidths of at least 25 percent of the center frequency of the device. They are capable of locating nearby objects, and can use processing technology to "see through objects" and communicate using multiple paths making them useful in many commercial and government applications. However, although their output powers are often low enough to be covered by the unlicensed device regulations, the bandwidths are so wide that, some systems emit signals in bands in which transmissions are not permitted because of harmful effects.
Existing rules for unlicensed devices do not address UWB devices. Thus, NTIA and the FCC must work closely with the users they authorize and the UWB community to develop ways to allow UWB devices to work without causing interference to critical authorized radio services. NTIA has funded, on its own as part of its organic mission, a series of tests and analyses for characterizing and assessing the impact of UWB devices on Federal equipment operating in the restricted bands. In addition external funding has been provided by both the Interagency Government Executive Board for Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) development, and the Department of Transportation for NTIA to undertake studies to assess impact on a number of GPS systems.
NTIA's tests and analyses are underway in Washington and in Boulder with Commerce's National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), also in Boulder, providing support. NTIA's measurements will develop practical methods for characterizing UWB systems and provide the information needed to estimate or measure the potential for UWB systems to interfere with existing radio communications or sensing systems. NTIA will, in particular, assess the interference potential of UWB signals to GPS receivers, establish methods for measuring the impact of UWB signals on GPS receivers, establish the operational scenarios that might place UWB and GPS equipment in proximity. NTIA will define the maximum level of UWB emissions that can be tolerated at the antenna output of each GPS receiver considered and the maximum permissible output power of UWB devices that will ensure compatibility with GPS receivers. Draft studies documenting the measurements and the impact analyses of non-GPS equipment have been completed. Measurements of UWB potential interference to GPS will be completed by the middle of 2001.
NTIA's non-GPS reports will be placed on the public record in January 2001 and the GPS reports will be placed in the public record in February 2001. NTIA also anticipates ongoing measurements supporting the introduction of new UWB technologies and the efficacy of any mitigating measures that might be suggested. The spectrum management issues and policies involved in accommodating UWB systems are expected to particularly contentious. Some may require Secretarial and Presidential level decisions if the spectrum issues cannot be resolved at the technical levels.
Advanced Mobile Communications/Third Generation (3G) Wireless Systems
The United States and the rest of the world are on the verge of a new generation of personal mobile communications, as wireless phones become portable high-speed Internet connections. The United States Government must move quickly and purposefully so that consumers, industry, and Government agencies all reap the benefits of this third generation of wireless products and services. In less than 20 years, the U.S. wireless industry has blossomed from virtually nothing to one with 100 million subscribers, and it continues to grow at a rate of 25 to 30 percent annually. Globally, there are over 470 million wireless subscribers, a number expected to grow to approximately 1.3 billion within the next five years. It is an industry in which U.S. companies have developed the leading technologies for current and future systems. It is an industry whose products help people throughout the world communicate better and in more places, saving time, money, and lives. The next generation of wireless technology holds even greater promise. Neither the first nor the second generation of wireless technologies was designed for multi-media services, such as the Internet. Third generation wireless technologies will bring broadband to hand-held devices. Higher speeds and increased capability are already leading to new audio, video, and other applications, which may create what many are calling "mobile-commerce" (m-commerce) that people will use in ways that are unimaginable today. Moreover, an international effort is underway to make it possible for the next generation of wireless phones to work anywhere in the world.
President Clinton signed a memorandum dated October 13, 2000, that states 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 President's memorandum provides the guiding principles to be used for the development of 3G wireless systems and directs the Federal agencies to carry out the selection of spectrum. In summary, the President directed the Secretary of Commerce in cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to: (1) develop a plan by October 20, 2000, for the identification and analysis of possible spectrum bands for 3G services that would enable the FCC to select specific frequencies by July 2001 for 3G and complete the auction for licensing 3G wireless providers by September 30, 2002; (2) issue an interim report by November 15, 2000, on the current spectrum uses, and the potential for the sharing or segmenting, of two of the bands identified at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-2000) for 3G wireless use, 1755-1850 MHZ and 2500-2690 MHZ, about which the United States does not have sufficient knowledge at present to make a considered decision about allocation; and (3) work with government and industry representatives through a series of public meetings to develop recommendations and plans for identifying spectrum for 3G wireless systems. NTIA released a Plan on October 20, 2000, outlining the activities that will lead to selection of spectrum for 3G. NTIA and the FCC released interim reports on November 15, 2000. A summary of these reports follows:
The Federal Government has agreed to transfer the 1710-1755 MHZ band to the FCC in 2004 on a mixed-use basis as long as the Federal operations in 17 areas are protected. The 1755-1850 MHZ band is allocated on an exclusive basis to the Federal Government for fixed and mobile services, where the Department of Defense (DoD) is the predominant user. Other agencies also operate extensive fixed and mobile systems in this band. Major systems in the band include: (1) Tracking, telemetry, and control for Federal space systems (1761-1842 MHZ band); (2) military tactical radio relay radios; (3) air combat training systems; (4) conventional fixed microwave systems (medium capacity); and other systems including precision guided munitions, video data links (high resolution), and land mobile video.
The 2500-2690 MHZ band contains two major private sector services: (1) the Multipoint Distribution System (MDS) and (2) Instructional Television Fixed Services (ITFS). These services provide high-speed access to the Internet; broadband services to rural areas; video services for education, health and other institutions; and a variety of analog and digital one and two-way services.
NTIA's interim report found that interference from 3G transmitters to the Defense Department's satellite receivers may be the limiting factor in sharing and will require further analysis, and uncoordinated sharing appears to be infeasible due to the extensive use by Federal Government plus projected build out of 3G systems. However, sharing might be possible if restrictions in space and/or time prove feasible, and if: (1) 3G operators reimburse Federal operators to relocate or the conventional fixed systems are retuned, and (2) major DoD functions are not impacted.
The FCC interim report found that 3G systems cannot share with incumbent systems without extensive interference with few exceptions, segmenting 2500-2690 MHZ band would raise technical and economic difficulties for incumbents; possible alternate bands for MDS and ITFS systems will be addressed in Final Report.
Under the President's Executive Memorandum on Advanced Mobile Communications/Third Generation Wireless Systems, NTIA in conjunction with the State Department and U.S. diplomatic posts began an international outreach initiative, focusing on spectrum needs assessments to support third-generation wireless technologies. Third generation (3G) wireless systems promise to provide mobile, high-speed access to the Internet and new telecommunications services anytime, anywhere. However, international harmonization of spectrum allocation is required to maximize the effective and efficient use of this unique, ubiquitous natural resource and ensure that global roaming and economies of scale develop.
This international outreach effort has several goals. First, in cooperation with the Department of State, NTIA seeks to explain the President's Memorandum to foreign governments, in particular the need to consider the requirements of incumbent operators in current spectrum bands that may be reallocated, an issue many other nations do not face. NTIA also seeks to engage in discussions to understand the status of 3G developments in the rest of the world, in particular with countries where 3G systems are pre-operational, where regulatory and standards structures are already in place, and where people are using mobile devices, not computers, to access the Internet. As a part of this outreach effort, NTIA recently commenced dialogues with Japan, Hong Kong, and China, and has agreed to co-host spectrum allocation seminars to exchange technical information with them. NTIA is jointly exploring with Canada, the European Union and other nations in the Americas other cooperative activities to ensure efficient use of spectrum while providing new opportunities to access the Internet.
Wireless Innovations in Communications Initiative. In February, NTIA announced the launching of the Wireless Innovations in Communications Initiative (WICI). One of the objectives of this initiative is to promote innovative developments in communications technologies and facilitate their timely application to satisfy actual communication needs in both the Federal agencies and the private sector. The scope of this initiative extends across the full range of wireless communications technologies, including fixed, mobile, radars, navigation, and satellite communications. The approach used for conducting WICI was to establish an ad hoc subcommittee (WICI Committee) within the Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) comprised of senior experts in the Federal Government who understand their agency's present and future radiocommunication requirements and can envision the potential applicability of new technologies. The WICI Committee scheduled a series of meetings in which representatives from Federal agencies discussed their communications requirements. Subsequently, developers of communications innovations presented their ideas of how to satisfy the Federal agencies' requirements. Because of the growing public and private sector requirements for use the spectrum, there is an urgent need to ensure that this limited national resource is used effectively and efficiently. WICI is intended to promote the development of innovations in wireless communications and systematically examine their applicability to actual communications requirements.
Since the launching of this initiative, NTIA held eight joint meetings attended by Federal and industry representatives addressing a wide variety of new emerging telecommunications applications, including Federal public safety communications, intelligent transportation system, Federal emergency communications, software defined radios, and ultra-wideband technology, among others. The WICI provided a useful forum for Federal and industry representatives to discuss the opportunities and challenges, as these new technologies evolve.
Development of spectrally efficient technologies. To promote the efficient use of radio spectrum, and to advance spectrally efficient communication technologies, NTIA's Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) undertook research and engineering studies in coordination with NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management (OSM) to expand knowledge of radio spectrum occupancy and new communication technologies. Important results of this research were spectrum use concepts and models that led to more efficient industry and Government use of the radio frequency spectrum. Through ITS, NTIA performed spectrum resource studies as required to ascertain current and future Federal use of the spectrum and determine where significant improvements in utilization appear possible.
Additionally, NTIA operated a mobile capability, the Radio Spectrum Measurement System (RSMS), to measure and analyze the actual use of the spectrum. The RSMS is used to perform measurements in multiple spectrum bands at selected sites, and to make other specialized measurements as necessary to ensure compliance with frequency assignment rules and regulations. NTIA completed spectrum measurements at Syracuse, New York, on military air search and defense radars to determine their emission spectra.
NTIA also completed measurements of ultrawideband (UWB) device emissions and their effects on air traffic control radars at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Subsequently, elements of the RSMS were transported to Funtington, United Kingdom, to perform and demonstrate these measurement procedures for the Joint Radar Coordinating Group of the ITU-R. The United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan, in particular, were interested in learning how to develop their own capabilities to do emission spectra measurements.
NTIA also undertook research and engineering to support the development of new wireless technologies including wireless local area networks, third generation wireless (IMT-2000), broadband wireless access, digital broadcasting, smart antennas, and ultra-wideband communications. One key area of research at ITS was the measurement and modeling of the propagation of radio waves which are crucial for the planning, development, and deployment of wireless technologies. Such knowledge is also needed for effective spectrum management and policy development.
NTIA supported the development of wireless local area networks through models of indoor propagation, validated by measurements, that enable the accurate prediction of broadband communication performance in indoor environments. These models provide a basis for planning antenna placement and designing modulation and coding techniques for achieving broadband capacity.
Measurements were made and analyzed to determine the benefit of antenna diversity to increase the communications capacity of broadband cellular technologies such as third generation wireless. IMT-2000 systems will require more gain to achieve the broadband data rates desired. For narrowband systems, gain can be realized by using antenna diversity. The diversity gain possible for broadband signals was unknown. The results showed the dependence of diversity gain on signal bandwidth and will enable Government and industry to consider diversity gain in decisions on third generation wireless.
Broadband access to the Internet from the home and small businesses is of major importance to the Administration and Congress. Broadband wireless access can, in addition, provide competition in the local loop (telephone service to the home). NTIA's laboratory continued to be the primary source of propagation measurement data and models for the broadband wireless access industry (local multipoint distribution service). Deployment of systems is beginning in the United States and a number of U.S. companies are exporting systems and services.
NTIA developed fundamental data and more accurate modeling of radio propagation that will lead to improved methods of planning spectrum sharing for various services including advanced television (ATV) systems. NTIA enhanced its multi-user, multi-network PCS (personal communications services) interference model to cover 3G PCS applications.
Adaptive or "smart" antennas are the most promising technology for enabling mobile broadband communications and for easing the spectrum shortage by increasing spectrum efficiency. NTIA continued to develop its Advanced Antenna Testbed to support industry and academia in the development of smart antenna technology. Plans to apply the testbed were discussed with several universities and U.S. companies.
GOAL 3: Advance the Public Interest in Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Information
Activities under the public interest goal include promoting universal service and access, assistance in maintaining and extending the services of public broadcasting and telecommunications facilities, promoting a diversity of choices in the mass media, encouraging private-sector initiatives to give citizens the ability to protect their children from indecent material, facilitating private sector determination of the public interest obligations of broadcasters, establishing principles for the protection of personal privacy, and working to maintain the U.S. telecommunications and information infrastructure in time of crisis. NTIA's most significant 2000 accomplishments in this area include continuing efforts to:
- close the digital divide and promote digital inclusion, including release of the fourth annual digital divide assessment entitled Falling Through the Net: Toward Digital Inclusion;
- protect traditional universal service concepts in a competitive marketplace;
- protect rural television viewers;
- maintain and extend public broadcasting and telecommunications facilities;
- address online protection for children and Internet content and filtering;
- help minorities and small businesses to own telecommunications firms; and
- protect personal privacy;
- protect the Nation's critical information and communications (I&C) infrastructure
NTIA develops policies in many areas that promote the public interest. One is in telecommunications services, where NTIA's policies promote universal, available and affordable services for all Americans. Another is in considering policies for the development of the Internet and other advanced services. NTIA also works to promote the public interest in the Nation's mass media, including new digital television services.
Closing the Digital Divide: Efforts to Promote Digital Inclusion. Throughout the past year, NTIA addressed policies to address the "digital divide" - - the gap between those who have access to advanced and standard communication through telephones, computers, and the Internet, and those who do not. Access to the tools of the new digital economy are key to the economic success and advancement of all Americans. This goes beyond the traditional notion of universal service that all households in the Nation should have access to the telephone network at affordable rates. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 sets forth an expanded concept of universal service, defining it as an evolving level of telecommunications services, taking into account advances in telecommunications and information technologies. In addition, it helps schools and libraries become connected to basic and advanced telecommunications through preferential rates for connections.
NTIA was active in several policy initiatives over the past year. One of the most visible is its series of reports on access to telephones, computers and the Internet, titled Falling Through the Net. The reports were initiated in 1995 as part of NTIA's work on universal service policy. Using Census data, the reports track the "digital divide" in America. In 1999, the issue became an urgent national priority when President Clinton and Secretary Daley released the third report, Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide. This helped to spur many public and private sector initiatives and was a major theme of the President's 1999 New Markets Tour. Moreover, President Clinton devoted his 2000 New Markets Tour entirely to the issue of the digital divide.
In October 2000, Secretary Mineta released the fourth report, Falling Through the Net: Toward Digital Inclusion. The report, co-authored by the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), contains the positive news that all Americans rapidly are becoming connected to the tools of the digital economy. However, the report also shows that Blacks, Hispanics, seniors, and persons with disabilities greatly lag behind the national average in terms of access to computers and the Internet. Moreover, rural areas lag behind the Nation in the deployment of broadband infrastructure. Even as the fourth report was being released, work was well underway at NTIA, working with the Department's Census bureau, on the fifth report in this series, to be released in late 2001 or early 2002.
In addition, NTIA provided significant support for Secretary Mineta's Digital Inclusion Tour in October 2000. During the tour, the Secretary highlighted the findings of the report and focused on successful public-private efforts to address the connectivity and training needs of seniors, disadvantaged youth and adults, low-income Asian seniors, Native Americans, and minority serving institutions. NTIA also established a new Web site devoted exclusively to digital divide issues, www.digitaldivide.gov .
Protecting Traditional Universal Service. NTIA has developed policies with the recognition that competition is not mutually exclusive from -- and can help promote -- universal service. However, the need to incorporate the competitive marketplace into the existing U.S. universal service support structure, the development of new technologies and new capabilities, and the emergence of information resources such as the Internet, have led to reassessment in all areas.
NTIA in 2000 participated in developments in Universal Service at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and in Congress. It participated in the recommendations of the Rural Task Force, composed of representatives from the Federal Communications Commission and state regulatory bodies, to change the universal service obligations of carriers to promote advanced services. NTIA, among other things, drafted language for part of the Rural Task Force's report and negotiated language in drafts. NTIA also has served as an advocate for addressing the digital and "dial-tone" divide faced by Native Americans and helped to spur FCC action to improve basic telephone service on Native lands. NTIA's digital divide policy expertise also extends to the global arena.
Protecting Rural Television Viewers. In May, NTIA hosted a public roundtable discussion concerning the technological options for delivering local broadcast signals to communities unlikely to be served by so called "local-into-local" service from direct broadcast satellite (DBS) carriers. New technological innovations are providing unprecedented opportunities to expand the reach of broadcast programming to America's rural regions, small markets, and other unserved areas. While some viewers in rural and small markets and other unserved areas have been able to receive broadcast network programming via cable and satellite, these programming signals often originate hundreds or even thousands of miles away, and do not provides these communities with local programming. The roundtable discussion was part of an NTIA inquiry on this issue. The roundtable featured a wide variety of technological approaches to delivering local-into-local television signals to rural and small markets. Roundtable participants considered satellite broadcasting, terrestrial broadcasting, Internet video streaming, multichannel multipoint distribution service (MMDS), and other fixed wireless options.
Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP). NTIA's PTFP assists in maintaining and extending the services of public broadcasting and telecommunications facilities, including the conversion of public television to digital broadcasting. The program annually awards grants to public broadcasting and other noncommercial entities for the purchase of telecommunications equipment. In 2000, PTFP issued grants totaling approximately $25.8 million for 103 projects in 41 states and several U.S. territories. In 2000, PTFP awarded 56 public radio grants, 41 public television grants, five distance learning grants, and one grant to the University of Hawaii for the Pan-Pacific Educational and Cultural Experiments by Satellite (PEACESAT) Project. The grants enable public broadcasting organizations, as well as many nonbroadcast operations, to buy equipment to activate new services, to extend the range of present services, and to improve existing broadcast facilities.
Approximately $20 million in awards assisted public television stations, including $14.4 million for projects that will convert public television facilities to digital broadcasting. There were 25 such grant awards, 13 for multi-year projects and 12 single-year awards. For example, a multi-year award to the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission for $1.2 million is purchasing digital transmission equipment for the state network's stations in Alliance, Bassett, Hastings, Lexington, and Merriman. Funding of future years of all multi-year awards will be dependent on the availability of funds and satisfactory performance. Other digital conversion grants went to public television entities in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. With the awards made this grant round, PTFP will have assisted over 35 public television stations convert their facilities to digital broadcasting.
Fifty-three PTFP grants are ensuring the continued service of public broadcasting stations by replacing worn-out equipment. In the case of public television replacement grants, the equipment that is being purchased will primarily be digital-ready or digital-compatible, which will also help the stations in their eventual digital conversion. For example, PTFP's largest single award, $1,250,680 to WCNY-TV in Syracuse, New York, is replacing the station's analog transmitter, purchasing an antenna and transmission line for both analog and digital transmission, and allowing the station to participate in a shared broadcast tower to locate the antenna.
A total of 19 grant awards are providing new public radio services to 434,000 people in 15 states. For example, a $339,763 award to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Lame Deer, Montana, is helping to construct a new station bringing the first public radio service to 38,000 persons on the reservation. Three other projects are constructing or planning for the construction of public radio facilities to serve Native American groups -- the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee, North Carolina; the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Browning, Montana; and the Tohono O'odham Nation reservation, Sells, Arizona.
PTFP also supported the purchase of nonbroadcast equipment for distance learning. The largest nonbroadcast distance learning grant -- for $368,440 -- was awarded to the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium to install two video studios in its new Health Science Center and purchase video classroom equipment for three distant sites in the Wisconsin communities of Black River Falls and Mauston.
Online Protection for Children. One of the most visible developments in 2000 was NTIA's participation in the Child Online Protection Act Commission. The Child Online Protection Act (COPA), enacted in October 1998, among other things established a Commission to study methods to reduce access via the Internet to material that is "harmful to minors." NTIA, in consultation with the other ex-officio Federal agency members from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, helped organize the Commission's meetings. NTIA worked with Commission members on the Commission's approach and actions taken with respect to its assessment of various technologies, and provided an Administration statement for the report, which was released October 23, 2000.
In addition, NTIA developed Administration policy regarding Internet content and the use of filtering software by school and library recipients of so-called "E-rate" funds. The Administration supported the broadest possible flow of information and content over the Internet, but also recognizes the concerns of consumers regarding online pornography and other material that parents may deem harmful or inappropriate for children. With respect to inappropriate content, the Administration supported an industry-led self regulatory approach reinforced by enhanced consumer awareness and the widespread availability of consumer empowerment technology. The Administration, in policies advocated by NTIA, did not support mandating a particular type of technology, such as filtering or blocking software. Rather, it encourages "acceptable use" policies by all public institutions that offer access to online resources, including the Internet.
Helping Minorities and Small Businesses to Own Telecommunications Firms. Since its inception in 1978, NTIA's Minority Telecommunications Development Program (MTDP), has worked to ensure that minorities and women have fair access to the Nation's spectrum to communicate views and information relevant to their communities, and to own businesses that can provide competitive and innovative telecommunications services. For a decade, MTDP has monitored the impact of regulatory and industry developments on minority broadcast ownership, and published reports on the status of minority commercial broadcast ownership.
MTDP convened a meeting in July of current and prospective minority broadcast station owners, new media entrepreneurs, financiers, and public policy advocates to discuss ideas for overcoming challenges to media ownership for minorities. At the roundtable, minority entrepreneurs lamented their inability to obtain access to capital to enter or expand telecommunications operations. These complaints reflect the findings of NTIA's 1995 report on capital access for minority participation in telecommunications. The high cost of broadcast properties, and the large investments required to bid effectively in FCC spectrum auctions, and to fund operations, if successful, make access to capital a critical for successful participation in the converging telecommunications industry.
In January 2001, MTDP issued an improved and expanded Minority Broadcast Ownership Report. The Minority Broadcast Ownership Report, produced with help from the Economics and Statistics Administration, is the leading Federal resource on minority ownership and provides new baseline data on minority ownership and a discussion of key issues related to entry. In preparation for this report, NTIA made a significant effort to broaden our data collection, in order to provide more accurate baseline data on the number of minority broadcast owners in the United States.
Protecting Personal Privacy. During the 2000, NTIA became increasingly active in developing policies that concern the protection of personal privacy transmitted or stored electronically. The Internet and the growth of information technologies have enabled the transmission, processing, and storage of vast amounts of information about individuals. While these capabilities contribute to the successful development of electronic commerce, they also raise concerns about individual privacy. Over the past several years, the United States and other nations have become increasingly concerned about finding ways in which data privacy protection can be assured. The challenge is to balance the competing values of individuals' right to privacy, the economic significance of innovative uses of information to personalize products and services, and the free flow of information within nations and among them.
The Administration's approach to privacy protection online relies on a combination of self-regulation, sector-specific legislation, and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) authority to prevent unfair or deceptive trade practices in commerce. The Administration, with input from NTIA, called on Congress to adopt legislation to protect certain highly sensitive personal information - children's information, medical records, and financial records. In other areas, it has encouraged self-regulatory efforts by industry. The Department of Commerce, through NTIA, has played an instrumental role in those efforts.
NTIA has worked with the private sector to ensure real privacy protection on the Net that includes posting privacy policies that adhere to fair information practices. NTIA has also worked closely with industry in the area of "online profiling," the practice of aggregating information about consumers' preferences and interests, gathered primarily by tracking their movements online, and using the resulting consumer profiles to create targeted advertising on Web sites.
In other areas, NTIA has continued to advance policy on behalf of the Administration that supports private sector-developed codes of conduct as an effective way to protect privacy online. While the FTC concluded that legislation is now necessary to safeguard privacy in its May 2000 report, NTIA continues to believe that it is important to continue its dialogue with the business community and consumer groups to encourage broader adoption and adherence to self-regulatory privacy policies that incorporate all of the fair information practice principles of notice, choice, access, and security.
NTIA, on behalf of the Department of Commerce, in 2000 worked with the private sector to ensure real privacy protection on the Internet that includes posting privacy policies that adhere to fair information practices. In March 1999, IBM announced that it would no longer advertise on Web sites that do not post clear privacy policies. Secretary Daley sent letters to the remaining 19 of the top Web advertisers encouraging them to follow IBM's lead. Companies such as Microsoft, Disney, Intel, Compaq, Novell, and Procter and Gamble have followed suit.
"Online profiling" is the practice of aggregating information about consumers' preferences and interests gathered primarily by tracking their movements online, and using the resulting consumer profiles to create targeted advertising on Web sites. As a result of a 1999 workshop that NTIA helped organize with the FTC, key members of the advertising industry began an initiative to develop self-regulatory guidelines. In June 2000, the industry submitted self-regulatory principles that address the Administration's privacy concerns with respect to the practice of online preference marketing or "profiling."
NTIA held a workshop in September 2000, to consider how technological tools and developments that can enhance consumer privacy online. Among these is work on specifications, such as the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P), that will allow consumers to determine their privacy preferences and have them automatically communicated to Web site operators. These technologies address the fair information practice principles of notice, choice, access and security. The workshop also discussed the benefits and limitations of each technology and the role that such technologies can play in a self-regulatory or regulatory environment. A technology fair took place simultaneously to showcase different kinds of privacy technologies.
Protecting the Nation's Critical Information and Communications Infrastructure. As the lead agency for protection of the information and communications (I&C) sector from purposeful cyber or physical attack, NTIA also played an important role in the Administration's effort to create a national public/private partnership to address the need for protection of critical infrastructures. NTIA worked with industry to draft a National Plan; identify ways to improve the exchange of information on effective protection practices; develop vulnerability assessment tools; promote research and development; and conduct international outreach on this important issue. In September, NTIA co-sponsored a Telecommunications and Information Security Workshop with NIST and NSA, which focused on critical infrastructure policy and security issues that have emerged from the convergence of the Nation's telephone and data networks. In bilateral discussions with Canada, Australia and the U.K. during the fall, NTIA represented the I&C sector's perspective on the need to eliminate legal barriers to information sharing on threats and vulnerabilities (including FOIA, anti-trust and liability concerns), and was successful in gaining industry representation in future bilateral discussions. In November, NTIA hosted the first I&C sector bilateral meeting with Canada to discuss critical infrastructure protection issues that have been identified as priorities.
NTIA also announced a historic joint venture with the Department of Defense. The partnership involves performing comprehensive vulnerability assessments of critical infrastructures on military bases and private sector facilities in the Rocky Mountain Corridor from December through June 2001. NTIA is coordinating the assessments of vulnerabilities on the bases with assessments of industry facilities that have criticalcommunications and information nodes in the region.
However, NTIA's ability to develop and participate in future partnership activities with DOD and the private sector to aggressively promote CIP awareness and remedial action will be severely hampered by a lack of resources. For Fiscal Year 2001, the Department of Commerce requested $6.3 million to fund the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's lead agency role for critical infrastructure protection (CIP) in regard to the information and communications (I&C) sector. Congress did not approve funding for NTIA's Communications and Information Infrastructure Assurance Program or for R&D costs associated with the program for 2001. Critical infrastructure protection (CIP) is a Presidential initiative, which, without funding, could open the Department of Commerce to criticism if there is another successful attack on the I&C infrastructure akin to the February, 2000, denial-of-service attacks and subsequent Love Bug Virus. A key focus of NTIA's 2001 CIP budget is to initiate an aggressive outreach effort to small and medium-sized businesses in the I&C sector, since these firms lack the requisite awareness and technical knowledge to adequately address the CIP challenge.
GOAL 4: Promote the Availability and Sources of Advanced
Telecommunications and Information Services
Activities under this goal include demonstrating advanced, innovative applications of telecommunications and information technology in the non-profit and public sectors, promoting the growth of electronic commerce and Internet use domestically and internationally, meeting the compelling telecommunications research needs of other Federal agencies and industry through cooperative research and development, promoting international acceptance of U.S. spectrum proposals, and participating in ITU and domestic standards development to benefit U.S. industry and user interests. Among the most significant 2000 accomplishments in this area are:
- promoting the availability and sources of advanced telecommunications and information services in the public and non-profit sectors through the Technology Opportunities Program;
- encouraging the development of advanced wireless services (Third Generation Services, also discussed under Goal 2);
- promoting broadband services;
- extending digital divide concepts globally;
- representing U.S. spectrum interests in international fora;
- encouraging technology transfer from NTIA's laboratory to the private sector through cooperative research and development; and
- participating in ITU and domestic standards activities.
Technology Opportunities Program (TOP). TOP promotes the widespread use and availability of advanced telecommunications and information technologies in the public and non-profit sectors. By providing matching grants for projects that demonstrate innovative applications of digital network technologies, this program helps develop a nationwide, interactive, broadband information infrastructure that is accessible to all Americans, in rural as well as urban areas. TOP plays a central role in the Administration's efforts to promote digital inclusion while closing the digital divide.
TOP provides matching grants to non-profit organizations and state and local governments across the United States to demonstrate advanced, innovative applications of telecommunications and information technology. These grants provide critical seed money to help forge partnerships in local communities across the country, ensuring that digital network technologies live up to their potential by enhancing community services, heath care delivery, public safety, and education and lifelong learning.
In 2000, 35 public and non-profit institutions, competitively selected from more than 650 applicants, were awarded $13.9 million in Federal grants. Projects were selected on the basis of their ability to serve as models that can be replicated by similar organizations across the country. Examples of this year's awards include:
- The See Forever Foundation in Washington, D.C., will develop ShawNet, a community network that will use information technology to help residents of a low-income inner city neighborhood solve local problems, such as creating access for the elderly and training teens in computer skills;
- The University of Rochester's School of Medicine in New York will use telemedicine in daycare settings for consultations between pediatricians and daycare professionals, which will reduce the frequency of medical emergencies and reduce stress on working parents by making medical services more readily available at daycare;
- The Suquamish Indian Tribe in the State of Washington will use broadband wireless technology to provide tribal children with access to online educational resources; and
- The Pine Tree Legal Assistance project in Maine will use Internet-based technology to create a secure network linking domestic violence shelters to courtrooms to let victims of domestic abuse obtain court-ordered protection and access to legal services.
Since the TOP program was initiated in 1994, NTIA has awarded nearly $150 million in matching funds that has spurred $370 million in total investments.
TOP continuously disseminates the results and insights learned from the projects it supports by providing technical assistance, creating publications, newletters and online resources, and hosting conferences. In October 2000, NTIA held its annual Networks for People conference, which provided a forum for more than 450 people to discuss the connection of people, information technology, and services transforming American life. The conference brought together leaders in the field of telecommunications and information technology to express their views on what's state-of-the-art now and, as we commence the 21st century, what the future might hold for information technologies and public policies affecting them. In addition, TOP grantees and other pioneers in the field had an opportunity to share their experiences, as well as to talk about the lessons learned and innovations made as they developed their networking projects.
In September 2000, Secretary Mineta released a report, Community Connections: Preserving Local Values in the Information Age, which discusses how NTIA's TOP program is demonstrating that ready access to information technologies can help promote development in America's communities and help them keep pace with social and economic advances in the 21st Century. The report illustrates how 11 communities, with assistance from a TOP grant, sought to ensure that powerful new information technologies strengthened, not weakened, the bonds between neighbors. The report illustrates how communities are discovering ways to use information technology to learn more about their own neighborhoods, to gain new insights into local problems and to use it to improve their lives.
By working closely with TOP grantees and constituents, NTIA has accumulated a significant body of knowledge about the creation and management of information technology applications. In April 2000, NTIA released Evaluation Report: Technology Opportunities Program -- 1996 Projects. This report was one of a series of evaluations conducted by an independent research and consulting firm. The report summarized findings from a survey of 49 projects funded by TOP in 1996. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of the projects at the local and national levels. Overall, the 1996 projects met or exceeded their own expectations, created replicable models, and made significant impacts upon underserved end users. The projects were sustainable and, in many cases, expanded in scope. The results of the survey show that the TOP program has continued to achieve its mission of promoting widespread availability and use of information infrastructure in the non-profit and public sector.
In October 2000, the Department of Commerce released the findings from a technology needs assessment of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) conducted by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). The study found that a majority of the Nation's HBCUs have networks that provide connectivity to the Internet and the World Wide Web, but most students do not have ready access to the campus networks. The report's findings are encouraging, and give the Department a benchmark with which to measure the degree HBCUs are keeping pace with technology change. The NAFEO report, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An Assessment of Networking and Connectivity, was the result of a contract awarded in 1999 by NTIA to determine the computer capabilities of HBCUs. It is the first report of five expected to result from NTIA's Broad Agency Announcement for TOP-related studies.
Promoting the Development of Broadband Services. Broadband services, which provide high speed Internet access, will be key to the future economic growth of every region, particularly in rural areas that can benefit from high-speed connections to urban and world markets. NTIA and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the Department of Agriculture co-authored a report called Advanced Telecommunications in Rural America. President Clinton released this report in April, 2000 during his New Markets Tour. The report responded to a request by ten U.S. Senators on the status of broadband deployment in rural versus non-rural areas in the United States and to a call by President Clinton and Vice President Gore to bridge the digital divide and create digital opportunities for more Americans.
The report found that rural areas are currently lagging far behind urban areas in broadband availability. Deployment of broadband in rural areas is primarily a "last mile" issue, as opposed to an issue regarding backbone availability. Deployment in rural towns (populations of fewer than 2,500) is proceeding at a far slower pace than in urban markets, while remote areas outside of towns are the least likely to have broadband service. These latter areas present a special challenge for broadband deployment. NTIA continues to review and analyze regulatory proposals that would encourage the development of broadband services.
International Digital Divide Agenda-Setting and Promotional Activities. As highlighted in the NTIA series of Falling Through the Net reports, a significant gap exists between information "haves" and "have nots" in the United States. The same can be said on a global level where a digital divide can increase divisions within a country or region, as well as potentially exacerbate the economic and other divisions between the industrialized and less developed countries. Recognizing the need to promote the notion of digital opportunity and inclusion, NTIA has embarked on several efforts in the hopes of meeting the challenges of the digital divide. Some of these efforts are described below:
- The Digital Opportunity Task (DOT) Force serves to mobilize the resources and coordinate the efforts of governments, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations to bridge the global digital divide and create digital opportunity. Through the DOT Force, NTIA helps meet localized access goals and seeks public-private partnerships to overcome global divisions. NTIA was instrumental in working with the White House to raise these policy priorities through the G8 Forum, where the DOT Force was created in July 2000.
- The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation's working group on telecommunications has embarked on two initiatives to address digital divide questions. One is focused on conducting a stock-taking exercise on digital divide policy initiatives, spearheaded by NTIA. The other seeks public-private partnerships among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly in the developing economies.
- Through the work of NTIA, the United States took on a leadership role in developing an OECD work program to investigate digital divide issues at the international level. The OECD work program seeks to collect and analyze information on member countries approaches to digital divide policy, create a common understanding across OECD nations on factors contributing to the digital divide, and promote discussion on the most effective methods for creating digital opportunity. As part of the work, NTIA has participated in workshops, delivered presentations to OECD members on U.S. policy and activities, as well as promoted to role of competitive markets and the private sector in closing the divide through written contributions.
International Telecommunication Union(ITU). NTIA continued its work at the ITU, which is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN), whose membership includes governments (the official term is "Member States") and industry (the official term is "Sector Members"). The ITU has established mutual obligations under Treaty, and other forms of international agreements, to pursue the common objectives of enhancing peaceful relations, international cooperation, and economic and social development among the world's people by means of efficient telecommunication services. The ITU is comprised of approximately 190 Member States, including the United States. NTIA, the Department of State, and the FCC participate in the ITU (via plenipotentiary conferences) and the ITU Council, radio conferences and assemblies, technical study groups, and other fora.
World Radiocommunication Conference 2000 (WRC-2000). NTIA, FCC, and the State Department completed preparations for WRC-2000. The U.S. proposals were closely coordinated with other administrations in ITU Region 2 (the Americas). This activity resulted in many U.S. proposals receiving regional support. Furthermore, NTIA representatives participated in meetings of other regional groups and bilateral discussions to seek support for U.S. views. At WRC-2000, NTIA representatives played many key spokesperson roles on behalf of the U.S. delegation and supported the head of the delegation closely in the conduct of critical bilateral discussions. The results of WRC-2000 proved to be extremely positive. During the conference, administrations identified spectrum for possible use for IMT-2000 (3G wireless services) in accordance with a U.S. proposed flexible approach. This flexible approach represented a significant culmination of long negotiations in the United States, balancing government and commercial interests and ultimately coincided with the interests of many administrations to narrow the spectrum focus for IMT-2000 while preserving national prerogatives.
The United States also received support for its proposals to provide spectrum for new signal components of the Global Positioning System (GPS) operations. These new allocations will facilitate increased accuracy needed for air navigation, and recognize significant uses for GPS signals by other satellite systems. Decisions were also made to guarantee protection of existing GPS signals. WRC-2000 also reached agreements on sharing spectrum between nongeostationary and geostationary fixed satellite service systems. These agreements support new competitive services in telecommunications that may provide improved opportunities for communications to rural and lesser developed areas. Furthermore, the WRC found an approach to facilitate the use high density fixed and high density fixed satellite applications near 40 GHz. These applications offer wide bandwidth competition to the local loop. Representatives of these two incompatible and competing applications have been seeking resolution of sharing conflicts since WRC-1997. The results of WRC-2000 provide opportunities for both services. The operations of the passive science services used for Earth sensing and space observations received a significant boost via WRC-2000. Because of the sensitive nature of these operations, special efforts are required to prevent interference. Based on difficulties experienced at lower frequencies, the WRC took the opportunity to rearrange many of the allocations above 71 GHz, specifically eliminating cases where satellite downlink bands were allocated next to radio astronomy bands or where satellite uplinks were allocated next to satellite Earth sensing bands. For Asia, Europe, and Africa, one of the key issues at WRC-2000 was broadcasting satellite replanning. In this exercise, many developing countries of the world sought greater access to BSS channels for potential future use, while Europe sought immediate access for current needs. Countries in the Americas worked successfully to ensure that this replanning effort did not impact spectrum access in Region 2.
World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-2003). NTIA began its preparations for this conference immediately after the close of WRC-2000. The NTIA, the FCC, and State Department participated in the first Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) to establish the work plan and organizational structure to prepare for WRC-2003. The next conference has over 40 separate agenda items.
Commission on Inter-American Telecommunications (CITEL). The importance of CITEL Permanent Consultative Committee (PCC) III has grown significantly via its submission of joint proposals to WRCs. With NTIA support, the United States submitted its proposals to CITEL and succeeded in having many adopted as Inter-American proposals. PCC III also studies a number of other radio issues and has been instrumental in coordination of approaches for implementing personal communications services, fixed wireless access, and license exempt applications.
International Special Committee on Radio Interference. NTIA participates primarily in the CISPR subcommittee dealing with emission limits for industrial, scientific, and medical equipment. In this work, NTIA has provided leadership to the U.S. preparatory process.
Meeting the Compelling Telecommunications Research Needs of Other Federal Agencies and Industry Through Cooperative Research and Development
The Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 (FTTA) allows Federal laboratories to enter into cooperative research agreements with private industry, universities, and other interested parties. The law was passed in order to provide laboratories with legal authority to enter into these arrangements and thus encourage technology transfer from Federal labs to the private sector. NTIA's Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) has established a core telecommunications research expertise that is accessible to both the public and private sectors and is actively engaged in technology transfer and commercialization efforts by fostering cooperative telecommunications research with industry where benefits can directly facilitate U.S. competitiveness and market opportunities. Through cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) with industry, NTIA applies its expertise to practical problems in telecommunications today. ITS completed several CRADAs with the private sector (e.g., U S WEST Advanced Technologies, Inc., Hewlett-Packard, American Automobile Manufacturers Association, GTE Laboratories, Integrator Corporation, Industrial Technologies, Inc., Lehman Chambers, ARINC, Lucent Bell Laboratories) to design, develop, test, and evaluate advanced telecommunications concepts. Data derived from these CRADAs provided a foundation for domestic and international standards development and efficient allocation of radio frequency spectrum resources. To date, major contributions to personal communication services (PCS) and local multipoint distribution service (LMDS) technologies have been and will continue to be carried out under these CRADAs to aid U.S. efforts to rapidly introduce new communications technologies for the benefit of society.
A CRADA was completed in 2000 where measurements were conducted on Lucent Bell Laboratories' patented, advanced antenna technology (BLAST). The technology allows the communication of several-fold more information in a given bandwidth than was previously possible. It enables broadband communications in a narrowband channel in cluttered environments. The measurements enabled Bell Laboratories to test the limitations that real world manufacturing places on the theoretical capabilities of BLAST technology. NTIA also received royalties from a CRADA partner for products commercially sold using an ITS-patented technology to objectively determine, through computer software, the quality of voice signals. Cellular telephone service providers are using the products to maintain the quality of service in their networks.
A CRADA was initiated in 2000 with Intel Corporation. This CRADA is targeted at research relating to the development of a Windows-based video quality assessment system. The Windows-based video quality assessment system, that will be developed under this Agreement, will incorporate technology covered by two patents and one patent application owned by ITS. Other CRADAs initiated in 2000 relating to audio and video quality assessment include a CRADA with the University of Pennsylvania to investigate video quality over the Next Generation Internet (NGI), and a CRADA with East Carolina University to assist its Brody School of Medicine in a telemedicine program that employs an array of interactive video and audio technologies to deliver clinical care and education.
NTIA also supports the mission of other Federal agencies through reimbursable work agreements. These efforts support a key NTIA responsibility of making available its laboratory's telecommunications expertise to other Federal agencies in a centralized, cost-effective manner.
Interoperability is a high priority for the Department of Justice, which initiated the Advanced Generation of Interoperability for Law Enforcement (AGILE) program. In 2000, ITS worked under the AGILE program to develop the plan and began implementing efforts to develop standards to provide telecommunications interoperability. This work was conducted through the NIST Office of Law Enforcement Standards through which ITS has been addressing law enforcement needs for telecommunication standards for a number of years.
ITS has also made technical contributions to the NTIA Public Safety Program. In particular, it initiated efforts to develop the standards to be used to network public safety radio systems. It has also developed procedures to test and ensure interoperability between radio systems that adhere to the public safety radio standard. This technical effort is being conducted for the Federal Law Enforcement Wireless Users Group, which is a member of the Telecommunication Industry Association's Project 25 committee.
NTIA's laboratory continued its long history of assistance to multiple Department of Defense agencies. In 2000, much of this work was of a sensitive nature. Contributions of import include assistance in determining the security challenges posed by rapidly emerging new telecommunication technologies; analysis for evaluating the threat of radio frequency weapons and the vulnerability of the Nation's telecommunications infrastructure to attack; and analysis to assist in the application of electronics and communications to enhance combat effectiveness.
ITS also provided key technical support to the work of the Federal Railway Administration in improving railway traffic management and safety and to the National Communications System (NCS) in enhancing communications survivability during national emergencies. During 2000, NTIA continued to support NCS in fulfilling its national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) mission through telecommunication research and standards development. Outputs of the Institute's 2000 NCS program included leadership and technical contributions in national standards committees (land mobile radio security, IP network reliability), and a revised draft of the ITS-developed, Web-accessible telecommunications glossary, FED-STD-1037C. The latter document has been proposed for adoption as an American National Standard.
NTIA continued its efforts to make technology results easily available to the larger user community. One way is through ITS' Telecommunication Analysis Services (TA Services) program, an Internet service that currently reaches over 200 Government and private sector users across the Nation and makes available the latest models, databases, and tools developed by ITS in the telecommunications field. The service is available through Web-based electronic CRADAs. It makes the latest models (e.g., PCS propagation) available to telecommunications systems planners and designers. NTIA will continue these efforts in 2001 and beyond.
Participation in ITU and Domestic Standards Development to Benefit U.S. industry and User Interests
NTIA continued to provide leadership, technical contributions, and advocacy of U.S. Government and industry proposals in the ITU-T, ITU-R, and related national telecommunication standards committees during 2000. This work promotes competition, innovation, and international trade in telecommunications equipment and services through standardization of network performance and user-oriented quality of service (QOS) metrics. During 2000, these activities were focused in two groups: Study Group 13 Working Party 4 and Study Group 12 Working Party 2. The former group develops performance Recommendations for high-speed synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH), broadband integrated services digital network (B-ISDN), asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), wave division multiplexing (WDM), and Internet protocol (IP)-based technologies. The latter group defines performance parameters and objectives for end-to-end transmission networks and terminals. NTIA's ITS also provides leadership and technical contributions to related work in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited T1 (Telecommunications) Committee's T1A1 (Performance) Technical Subcommittee and its three Working Groups. During 2000, leadership in Study Group 13 contributed to the completion of ten ITU-T Recommendations, dealing collectively with ATM cell transfer performance, service availability, transmission error performance, and the performance of network time and frequency distribution services. NTIA also participated in planning and organizing future ITU-T work at the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA). The Institute's leadership in Study Group 12 assisted the Voice Quality Experts Group in completing a comprehensive multi-laboratory evaluation of video quality assessment technologies proposed for international standardization. As a follow-up to that evaluation, the Institute's patented objective video quality assessment algorithm was adopted by ITU-T Study Group 9 for inclusion in a new ITU-T Recommendation on digital video service quality measurement. The Institute's continued leadership in T1A1 advanced U.S. voluntary consensus standards and contributions to ITU-T in these and several other technology areas. A particular focus of ongoing T1A1 work is the standardization of QOS and reliability objectives for voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and other real-time IP network services.
The Institute's ITU-R work provides a technical basis for spectrum allocation decisions and spectrum use both globally and regionally, and helps to ensure compatibility between radio systems operated by U.S. Government and industry organizations and those operated in other countries. In prior work, ITS staff members obtained the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) 1-km worldwide terrain database from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and successfully introduced the database for international use in ITU-R Study Group 3. During FY 2000, ITS developed and standardized algorithms for extracting path profiles from such terrain databases. To support the use of the new terrain databases, ITS is providing algorithms to the ITU-R that utilize terrain characteristics to make point-to-point propagation predictions. ITS participates in the Correspondence Group that will evaluate the point-to-point prediction methods and develop a new Recommendation on the topic. Finally, ITS provided material for a new ITU-R Handbook that will guide users in the application and interpretation of propagation calculations used in the land mobile radio service. This material includes information on radio and man-made noise in the mobile service bands and on the topics of ray-tracing, geometric theory of diffraction-uniform theory of diffraction (GTD-UTD), and parabolic and integral equation methods.
NTIA also continued telecommunications research and engineering activities directed toward the development, implementation, and promulgation of user-oriented performance measures for integrated data, audio (including voice), video, and multimedia communication equipment and services. ITS continued to enhance and apply its state-of-the-art integrated networks test bed and performance measurement laboratory to validate and optimize telecommunication performance standards. This research supports the development of user-oriented, technology-independent performance parameters and measurement methods for digital audio and high-speed data communication services. ITS continued related research in digital video communication performance addressing such emerging and future applications as video telephony and teleconferencing, computer-aided design and manufacturing, e-commerce, and interactive video distribution, and is continuing its development of multimedia test capabilities. These user-oriented test capabilities are extremely valuable in implementing and optimizing the national and international information infrastructure, including the Next Generation Internet (NGI).
NTIA Management Accomplishments
In 2000, NTIA conducted an active management control review program, continued improving its financial management system, and continued to meet standards prescribed for information technology (IT) and telecommunications security. Since passage of the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) 18 years ago, no material weaknesses in internal controls or material nonconformance in financial management systems have been found within NTIA. Instead, regular management control reviews, special management reviews, as well as reviews and audits by the Inspector General's Office have yielded recommendations for further improvements in operations, which have been put in place.
NTIA participated actively in all of the Department's efforts to address the "Y2K" issue for all its databases and software. All computer hardware and software under NTIA's control were tested for Year 2000 compliance, as well as link parameters with data exchange partners. No operational difficulties were encountered at the end of calendar year 1999.
NTIA also continues to improve the consolidation of accounting and financial information and the timeliness of data available to agency management. For the FY 1999 financial statement, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a full scope audit. The audit of that statement resulted in an unqualified opinion, with no material weaknesses or reportable conditions. The OIG will conduct another full scope audit for the FY 2000 financial statement.
In the area of general IT and telecommunications security, NTIA has made substantial progress in affording proper protection of its information resources. An initial assessment of NTIA's information systems security was conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) in August 1998. NTIA's Information Security Plan was designed to addresses NSA's recommendations. In 2000, NTIA continued to advance internal IT security by, among other things, strengthening firewalls, conducting penetration testing, and securing a dedicated IT security officer. NTIA also continued to provide staff training; monitor security plans for all office automation and timekeeping systems, as well as for sensitive and classified systems; and operate an automated inventory control system for IT equipment and for agency-owned software to ensure that no unauthorized software is resident.
NTIA Gold and Silver Medalists
Gold Medal for Leadership: Secretary Mineta presented eight Commerce Department employees and two former employees with the Gold Medal Award for Leadership, the Department's most prestigious award, in leading the Administration's efforts to expand economic opportunities for all Americans by promoting greater access to advanced telecommunications and information services.
The employees who formed the Department's Digital Divide Team were Herschel Gelman, computer specialist at National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA); Jeffrey E.M. Joyner, senior counsel, Office of Chief Counsel (NTIA);Wendy Lader, senior policy advisor, Office of Policy Analysis and Development (NTIA); Sandra Laousis, program analyst, Office of Policy Analysis (NTIA); Kelly Klegar Levy, associate administrator, Office of Policy Analysis and Development (NTIA); James McConnaughey, senior economist, Office of Policy Analysis and Development (NTIA); Judith Sparrow, program officer, Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications (NTIA); Laureen Daly, senior policy advisor, Office of the Secretary; Dawn Cromer, former senior policy advisor, Office of Policy, Office of the Secretary; and Lucie Naphin, former director, Office of Business Liaison.
Silver Medal Awards: Secretary Mineta also awarded four employees the Department's Silver Medal for personal and professional excellence in producing a landmark report on the deployment of broadband services, which provide high-speed Internet access, in rural America.
Award winners were Wendy Lader, telecommunications policy analyst, Office of Policy Analysis and Development; Kenneth Allen and Frank Sanders, electronic engineers, NTIA's Institute for Telecommunication Sciences, Boulder, Colorado, and James McConnaughey, senior economist, Office of Policy Analysis and Development. The NTIA report-writing team was honored for its commitment, team effort, and high-level research and analysis in producing Advanced Telecommunications in Rural America: The Challenge of Bringing Broadband Service to All Americans, the first high-level, comprehensive study on broadband technologies which will promote broadband deployment in rural America. The team provided some of the first, hard data on the topic and addressed complex policy issues surrounding broadband access in rural America. Specifically, the team put forth eight policy recommendations to spur competition and universal service funding for the deployment of broadband services in rural communities. The report, produced jointly with the U.S. Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), was compiled in response to a request by 10 U.S. Senators.
William D. Speights, a telecommunications specialist, was awarded the Department's Silver Medal by Secretary Mineta for leadership in developing initiatives for improved public safety radio communications among Federal, state, and local governments. Mr. Speights was recognized for leadership in advancing interagency initiatives, providing radio spectrum policy guidance, and implementing a program for improving public safety radio communications among Federal, state and local agencies. He was instrumental in developing mobile radio standards for public safety communications that provide vital services for the protection of life, property, and natural resources of the American people. His contributions have significantly advanced the goal of public safety communications at all levels of government.
NTIA on the World-Wide Web
To expand electronic access to public information, NTIA established one of the first Federal Government World-Wide Web (WWW) servers (http://www.ntia.doc.gov). Most of NTIA's publicly available documents are posted on this Web site. The following general principles guide NTIA's managers on electronic information dissemination; these principles apply to all NTIA electronic information dissemination efforts, regardless of specific form:
1. Designed for the external user; i.e., constituent ease of use, interactivity, and usefulness of the information will be the overriding priority.
2. Accurate, timely, complete, and relevant.
3. Information should be available online no later than when it is available in hard copy and preferably before the hard copy is available.
4. Limited to organizational and programmatic information.
NTIA welcomes comments on its activities and programs. To offer suggestions or obtain further information, please contact Sarah Maloney or Charles Franz at 202-482-1835 or send e-mail to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.