Saturday, February 10, 2007

U.S. Wireless Spectrum Management Overview

This 2001 paper Federal Spectrum Management: How the Federal Government Uses and Manages the Spectrum from the NTIA describes some basic elements of spectrum management.

** 10/06/07 - The link to this paper is no longer functional **

** NTIA's Office of Spectrum Management site currently has no replacement link or any updated material available describing its spectrum management mission or goals

The closest information concerning the NTIA's spectrum management policies is
located here or here **

It first explains what is meant by the term "
the spectrum". Second it portrays the role of the Federal government as a major user of the spectrum explaining how the use of the spectrum is critical to the roles assigned the government agencies by the Congress and the President. Finally, the paper discusses how, why and by whom its use is regulated. It also includes a very informative Appendix with an in-depth overview of spectrum use by individual federal agencies.

(NOTE: Reportedly, the NTIA will be releasing an up-dated Federal Spectrum Use Report sometime this year.)

Use of the radio spectrum is critical to U.S. communications, and indeed, the national economy. In 1990, the value of shipments of radiocommunications equipment was estimated to be more than $55 billion. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent auctions of portions of the spectrum for Personal Communications Services, and other services, has produced about $24 billion for the national treasury. Industries that use the spectrum to provide a service, such as broadcasting, cellular telephony and paging also make substantial contributions to the economy , as do manufacturing and service industries that use the spectrum to increase their productivity. Moreover, spectrum use is essential to government functions ranging from defense and public safety to air traffic control and weather forecasting. U.S. policies for managing the spectrum must ensure that the spectrum is used efficiently and fairly to promote the best interests of the public while promoting innovation and serving users’ needs. Current spectrum management policies — administered by the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) for Federal government users, and by the FCC for all other users — are under increasing strain as the demand for existing spectrum-based services grow and new spectrum-related technologies and applications emerge.

This document is well worth a read for those interested in or concerned about spectrum matters.


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