President Barack Obama has directed the executive agencies to become more aggressive in identifying U.S. government-held broadcast spectrum that can be relinquished to the private sector, as well as increasing the efficiency in which the federal government is using such spectrum.
On June 14, Obama issued a presidential memorandum directing the Department of Commerce to continue its involvement in discussions to identify government spectrum that can be relinquished or shared with the private sector. Those discussions have been going on since at least June of 2010.
The Commerce Department is also directed to publish, within three months of the date of the memorandum, a catalog of “federal test facilities” that can be available to commercial enterprises, as well as other stakeholders, engaged in research, development, testing and evaluation of technologies that enhance spectrum sharing and other spectrum-related efficiencies.
In addition, the Commerce Department is to establish a plan for the development of policies and “best practices” governing research, development, testing and evaluation at federal facilities of such spectrum-sharing technologies, the document says.
The memorandum also directs the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to design and conduct a pilot program to monitor spectrum usage at select communities to determine if a larger monitoring program — involving major cities — would identify areas where spectrum could be more efficiently used or shared.
Within six months of the memorandum, NTIA is to oversee the federal agencies’ assessments of their spectrum use, which is to be used to determine each agencies’ “actual usage” of spectrum, according to the memo.
Also, when an agency requests a frequency assignment between 400 MHz and 6 GHz, NTIA is tasked with requiring the agency to verify that it cannot achieve its mission goals using higher frequencies, or using commercially-assigned spectrum, or by using a system that is not “spectrum dependent,” the document said.
NTIA is also to provide the president with recommendations on increasing incentives for agencies to share or relinquish spectrum, while “protecting the mission capabilities of existing and future systems that rely on spectrum use,” the memorandum said.
Click here to access the memorandum.