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Remarks of Associate Administrator Doug Kinkoph at CSMAC Meeting

April 22, 2020

Remarks of Doug Kinkoph
Associate Administrator performing the delegated duties
of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
CSMAC Virtual Meeting
April 22, 2020

-- As Prepared for Delivery --

Thank you. I hope you are all staying safe and healthy during this unusual and difficult time for our country.

At NTIA, most of our employees are teleworking but we have maintained full continuity of our operations across our offices.

On the spectrum front, we’ve have made progress on a number of issues since the last meeting of CSMAC.

Most recently, we have been working with the businesses, federal stakeholders and the FCC to make sure our response to connectivity needs remains flexible.

In this time of increased teleworking, we’ve seen increased demands on the capacity and coverage capabilities of communications networks. One way federal agencies can help is by enabling additional sharing of spectrum to provide short-term capacity for commercial services.

The FCC has received a number of requests for short-term sharing of frequencies, and NTIA has been working with agencies to accommodate these requests. When agencies agree on the terms, the FCC grants a Special Temporary Authority (STA) for commercial carriers to share federal frequencies for a set period of time. In recent weeks, the FCC has issued a number of these grants to increase broadband capacity throughout the country. To give you some examples:

  • Thirty-three wireless Internet service providers received grants to use the lower 45 megahertz of spectrum in the 5.9 GHz band for 60 days, which will help bolster service to rural communities in 29 states.
  • AT&T and Verizon received grants to use AWS-3 spectrum to help meet wireless broadband needs across the country.
  • U.S. Cellular received a grant to use spectrum licensed to AWS-3 for 60 days to provide additional coverage in parts of four states.
  • AT&T received a grant of additional AWS-4 spectrum, currently licensed to DISH, to serve Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands for 60 days to strengthen network capacity.

Looking back to earlier this year, President Trump’s 2021 budget had a number of important spectrum-related items. The budget asks Congress for an additional $25 million to modernize America’s spectrum management system to accommodate advanced technologies. NTIA would use these resources to create a secure, flexible, and automated spectrum management system.

In addition, the budget calls for increased funding to improve the security of our telecommunications infrastructure and upgrade advanced communications research at the Institute for Telecommunication Sciences, our research lab in Colorado.

Now I will turn it over to our co-chairs, Jennifer Warren and Charla Rath.