Spectrum administration: Higher planning and inter-agency collaboration can strengthen spectrum redistribution efforts

quick Details

The FCC and the Nationwide Telecommunications and Data Administration (NTIA) regulate the usage of radio-frequency spectrum within the US to ensure there may be sufficient for the rising 5G community, satellites and all the pieces else. When interference could happen, the FCC and NTIA coordinate with different businesses.

We testified about our opinions of the spectrum reallocation course of and the businesses’ cooperation on potential spectrum interference points.

We obtained:

  • The NTIA didn’t have a complete documented course of to plan its reallocation efforts from begin to end.
  • The FCC, NTIA and different businesses can absolutely make use of key collaboration practices


What did Gao discover?

Spectrum is a pure useful resource that allows wi-fi communications and essential authorities operations, as proven within the determine beneath. A significant spectrum administration exercise of the Nationwide Telecommunications and Data Administration (NTIA) is working with different businesses, such because the Federal Communications Fee (FCC), to execute spectrum redistribution, in order that the FCC can public sale spectrum for business use. . Nonetheless, the GAO discovered that the NTIA lacked a complete planning course of to take action. Spectrum reallocation, which includes transferring spectrum utilized by the federal authorities to non-federal customers, is a posh, usually prolonged enterprise involving a number of stakeholders and steps. For reallocation, NTIA typically collects inputs from businesses whose spectrum utilization will probably be affected by the proposed reallocation. The NTIA may assist businesses consider the potential affect {that a} proposed redistribution may have on the businesses’ spectrum-dependent operations. Whereas the NTIA follows some normal steps in conducting the precise allocation, the NTIA lacks plans with aims and objectives, built-in grasp schedules and threat assessments. By following these key practices in program administration, NTIA might be able to implement precise allocations extra successfully.

Examples of federal and non-federal spectrum utilization

Examples of federal and non-federal spectrum usage

To deal with potential interference between the proposed makes use of of spectrum, the NTIA and FCC make use of completely different coordination mechanisms. For home issues, the businesses coordinate via the NTIA-led committee that gives enter for the FCC’s spectrum proceedings. Nonetheless, Gao discovered that these mechanisms don’t absolutely mirror pioneering collaboration practices. For instance, whereas the paperwork guiding coordination between the FCC and the NTIA insist on reaching consensus each time attainable, there isn’t any clearly outlined and agreed-upon course of for resolving circumstances when businesses are concerned. Cannot try this. The GAO overview discovered that these points affected the participation of america in worldwide conferences concerning the regulation of worldwide use of spectrum. For instance, disputes between businesses and the lack to succeed in settlement on US technical contributions challenged the US’s means to base selections or conform to a unified standing.

Why did Gao do that examine?

Nearly all spectrum is allotted to the federal authorities, the business sector, or different non-federal use. Nonetheless, the demand for spectrum is growing constantly. That is particularly the case with the business sector because it seeks to deploy and enhance 5G cell service. Within the US, the NTIA and FCC regulate and handle federal and non-federal spectrum use, respectively. Together with the FCC and different federal businesses, the NTIA helps reallocate federal spectrum for business use.

This assertion is predicated on two GAO spectrum administration stories launched in June 2021 (GAO-21-474) and January 2022 (GAO-22-104537). Particularly, it discusses how (1) the NTIA has developed a planning course of to information its spectrum restoration efforts, and (2) cognize federal businesses in collaborating on potential spectrum interference points. Main practices comply with. Amongst different issues, GAO in contrast the businesses’ spectrum reallocation and coordination efforts with the main practices applied.

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